DMV Drive Test Tips for Wet Roads

Drivers License test

- question from 3/16/2021 by Davey, filed under Drivers License test and DMV Road Test

How do you handle wet roads and rain on your DMV drive test?

Hello Looks like it might rain during my son's drive test for driver license. Should he be driving slower or just leave more space? And if it’s not raining but the roads are wet same thing? He’s worried -). Thanks

Just to clarify if it isn't actively raining but the roads are wet (maybe it rained 30 min ago or an hour ago and the road is either visibly wet with puddles or damp looking), could you drive 5mph under the speed limit and not get penalized? So since he's taking his test in Winnetka, does he drive 35 mph on the 40 mph streets and 20 mph in residential areas?

Thank you so much
Davey Says

Hello Davey,

Excellent questions! We checked with our partner Drivers Ed Direct Driving School and this is what they had to say...

Hi Chris here from Drivers Ed Direct! To answer your question:

During inclement weather or if the roads are wet, it’s always a good idea to slow down a bit and keep extra space. Also, if it’s raining, you must turn on his headlights (low beams), activate the windshield wipers and turn on the defroster if necessary. Typically the DMV recommends driving 5-10 miles per hour slower if it’s raining or the roads are wet. The examiner will expect the driver to slow down because the law states that you must drive at a speed that is reasonable and prudent (meaning safe) for the conditions, regardless of the posted speed limit.

Keep in mind that during normal conditions (sunny day, dry roads, good visibility, no traffic, etc.) an examiner will give a 1-point deduction if someone goes 4-9mph over or under the speed limit, while 10 mph over or under the speed limit is considered a critical driving error or an auto-fail. Again, this is during normal driving conditions, so I think driving right around that 5mph under the speed limit would be best and safe if its just a gentle rain. If its pouring outside and visibility is low, then drive much slower, maybe 10-15mph slower.

If it's not raining at all, but the roads are still wet after a rain, I think you’ll be fine driving right around that 5mph below the speed limit. Also, the examiner will be looking at your following distance, making sure you have plenty of space between your car and the car ahead in the event you need to stop as it takes longer on a slick road, so it’s definitely wise to increase your following distance whenever possible. So I think the mindset is... drive a bit slower, but try to keep more space in front of you when possible.

Just be cautious not to drive too slow (10mph or more under), because even if the roads are a little wet wet, but you impede traffic behind you, it could be an auto-fail. Also, I don’t think an examiner would auto-fail you for going 25mph in a 25mph zone just if the road is slightly wet... it would have to be pouring rain with poor visibility and/or you were following too closely with the car ahead of you.

Hope this helps, these are great drivers ed questions! Please feel free to reach out with any more questions to Drivers Ed Direct.

Best of luck to your son on his test - you got this!

Also, here is some good info from the California Driver Handbook about driving in various inclement weather situations:

* This question and answer may have been modified to remove any identifying personal information of the person asking the question.
** The information contained within this FAQ is up to date as of 3/16/2021. We always recommend that you get the latest information available by contacting, the DMV, or Court directly.


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