Should You Walk or Run in the Rain?

January 29, 2019
Man Running in Rain

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It’s storm season. You finish dinner at a restaurant and it’s suddenly pouring.  You gaze at your car parked not so far away.  Is it better to walk or run in the rain?

Believe it or not, scientists have debated this for years.  If you run you get there faster, so less rain hits you.  But meanwhile you’re slamming more frontwise into the droplets, making them preferentially strike your chest and legs.  If you’d walked, they’d mostly hit your head and shoulders, which offer less surface.

Is this logic correct? Do you get wetter walking or running in the rain?

In the late eighties, an Italian physicist calculated that running through a rain storm would keep you 10% drier than walking.  Barely any difference. Hardly worth the effort, especially since you’d be more likely to slip and fall.  Then in 1995 a British researcher decided that walking is better, because the drenching of your entire front side would negate the slight benefit of getting there faster.

The next year, two North Carolina climatologists put the whole issue to an actual test.  They each wore identical clothing and water measuring equipment. One of them ran 100 meters through a downpour while the other simultaneously walked.  Result?  The one who walked was 40% wetter.

Bottom line: Run to the car.

But you already instinctively knew that, didn’t you?

Now, did you know water shouldn’t be wet? I’ll explain why water—beyond its obvious life-giving properties—is truly astonishing.

About This Blog

Welcome to “This Week’s Amazing Sky,” the Almanac’s hub for everything stargazing and astronomy. Bob Berman, longtime and famous astronomer for The Old Farmer’s Almanac, will help bring alive the wonders of our universe. From the beautiful stars and planets to magical auroras and eclipses, he covers everything under the Sun (and Moon)! Bob, the world’s mostly widely read astronomer, also has a new weekly podcast, Astounding Universe