RAA urges caution on our roads as wet weather arrives

27 March, 2023

RAA is urging drivers to leave a safer stopping distance when driving in wet weather, as data reveals more than 2500 drivers were caught tailgating last year.

In 2022, 2750 motorists were caught failing to keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front, resulting in $688,319 in fines, latest SA Police figures show.

The current penalty including VOC is $466 plus one demerit point.

RAA Senior Manager Safety and Infrastructure Charles Mountain said motorist should leave extra distance between their vehicle and the vehicle in front in wet conditions.

“Wet roads bring with them extra challenges for drivers, challenges that we should all mentally prepare for after months of driving in mainly dry conditions,” Mr Mountain said.

“If the road is wet, we should all be extra careful to leave at least three seconds between us and the car in front.

“A lane of moving traffic can slow or stop without warning so if you’re following too closely it’s almost impossible to avoid hitting the vehicle in front.”

“Inclement weather can also mean reduced visibility, making it harder to see pedestrians or cyclists, which is another reason to drive at a safe speed that allows us to come to a stop if required.

“It’s also a good idea to check the condition of your tyres, because worn tyres don’t disperse water as effectively which increases the risk of aquaplaning, where your tyres lose contact with the road and the vehicle doesn’t responding to steering.”

Mr Mountain said a recent RAA study revealed that an average stopping distance when travelling at 110km/hr in wet weather was 150 metres, compared with just 104 metres in dry conditions.

The study also showed that for a car travelling at 80km/hr, the stopping distance increased from 64 metres to 88 metres in the wet. These figures also include the time it takes a driver to react to a hazard before hitting the brakes.

“It can take a vehicle a 30 per cent longer distance to stop when the road is wet and even longer if your tyres are worn.

“We know South Australia has had a horrific start to the year on our roads, with 37 fatalities already compared to 17 this time last year.

“Now, the arrival of wet weather is yet another reason to be mindful that we’re driving to the conditions, to ensure we all make it home safely.”

Note to editors

Stopping distances*: Dry vs wet

Speed (km/h)Dry stopping distance (m)Wet stopping distance (m)Increase (%)

*Stopping distance = distance travelled while perceiving/reacting to the hazard + distance travelled while actually braking.