Love it or hate it, the onset of winter certainly sees a distinct shift in the weather. Whilst many areas of the UK are prone to long wet spells at all times of the year, this is particularly the case during the winter.
Previously, we have taken a look at some of the tips which can help driving in adverse weather conditions such as heavy fog. We now want to explore some of the steps that can be taken to minimise the risk when driving in wet weather conditions.
In a country as wet as the UK it pays to make sure that you are prepared for heavy rain and flash floods and by taking in the following tips you will be able to reduce the risk when driving in wet conditions.
- Don’t drive fast through deep water. It can cause serious and expensive damage. If your engine cuts out after driving through deep water, do not attempt to restart as engine damage may occur – call for assistance and have the vehicle professionally examined
- Drive slowly through standing water or you could end up aquaplaning. If the steering is feeling light, to regain grip, ease off the accelerator, do not brake and allow your speed to reduce until you gain full control of the steering again.
- Don’t drive through water if you are unsure of the depth – the edge of the kerb is a good indicator
- Drive steadily and slowly so as not to create a bow wave in front of the vehicle and allow oncoming traffic to pass first
- Driving at speed through water is dangerous
- Splashing pedestrians and cyclists when you pass them is inconsiderate and can result in a fine
- Never tailgate other vehicles by using their lights as a marker
- Never attempt to drive through fast flowing water – you could easily get swept away
- Test your brakes after leaving flood water
Lots of heavy rain can result in roads being closed and some routes that are still open could be waterlogged or covered in debris:
- Plan your journey, allow plenty of time to avoid flooded areas
- Use dipped headlights, this allows others to see you
- Don’t use rear fog lights. They can mask your brake lights and dazzle following traffic
- Reduce your speed, leave more space between you and the vehicle in front
- Increase your braking distance to avoid shunting
- Fast moving vehicles create spray which dramatically reduce visibility – select the correct wiper speed to ensure your windscreen is kept clear for maximum vision
- Listen out for local news bulletins to keep up to date with road closures and forecasts
- In the event that you break down in torrential rain, keep the bonnet closed whilst waiting for help to arrive, to avoid the electrical system getting soaked
- If conditions get too hard to cope with and you get the chance to pull over – do so. If it is safe and legal, contact someone to let them know that you have stopped for a while
Some things to consider before making your journey
- Is your journey necessary – can you wait and travel in safer conditions?
- If you have to travel, plan your route to avoid known affected
- Let relatives and friends know your intended route and expected time of arrival and where possible, travel with others
- Carry a mobile phone with a fully charged battery and car adaptor if available, with contact numbers if not already stored in the phone
- Ensure that the fuel tank is full – being stuck in traffic and using lights, heater etc all use a lot more fuel so you could run out
For more information please visit the official RAC guide to wet weather driving – http://www.rac.co.uk/advice/car-knowledge/what-to-do-if/rac-advice-for-driving-in-wet-weather