Wet Weather Driving Hints and Tips
Driving in wet weather can be dangerous, but there are a number of precautions you can take to keep you and your car safer. Because even the most experienced driver, who knows the area well, is at risk of accident during heavy downpours.
Many roads surfaces are susceptible to flooding which creates the risk of aquaplaning, not to mention reducing visibility and possible engine failure. Not ideal. So save yourself some pain by familiarising yourself with the following hints and tips.
1. Check your tyres
Before you head out for a drive in the rain, make sure you check your tyres. You need to make sure that they are sufficiently inflated and that the air pressure is correct for your specific car. As well as that, you should check the tyres tread depth, as this will stop skids and aquaplaning.
2. Slow down
When the rain comes down, slow down. Heavy rain mixes with dirt and oil on the surface, and you know what that means: perfect conditions for skidding. The best way to avoid skidding your car is to simply slow down. This is because it allows more tread to make contact with the ground. As well as slowing down, stay well away from the car in front. The AA suggests doubling the distance you leave between your car and the car in front, as stopping distances take longer to achieve when the road is wet.
3. Use your headlights
The Highway Code states you must use headlights when your visibility is ‘seriously reduced’, which translates to not being able to see more than 100 meters, or 328 feet, ahead of you. As well as helping your visibility, headlights let other road users see your vehicle.
4. Consider pedestrians and cyclists
Consider other people when you are driving on wet roads. What looks like a small puddle to you, could prove a shower to a pedestrian. You should slow right down when driving through standing water, thereby avoiding showering pedestrians and cyclists. Besides from being good manners, if you get caught by the police you could face a fine and between 3 – 9 penalty points.
5. Driving through floods
You should only drive through water if you are certain your car can handle it. Remember, a car can float in just one foot of water – so it doesn’t take much. If you decide to drive through water you should drive very slowly and ensure you test your brakes at the first opportunity upon leaving the water. If you drive too fast your tyres will lose contact with the floor and you will experience aquaplaning. This can result in a loss of control, skidding or spinning.
As driving in the rain presents you with more challenges than usual, it’s important you pay extra attention to your driving. You should keep at least one hand on your steering wheel at all times and keep all distractions – such as the radio – to a minimum.
Driving in wet conditions can be tricky but, if you pay close attention to your driving, your surroundings and apply the above tips, you increase your chances of staying safe. In particularly strong downpours and, when advised by officials, it is better to delay your journey.
published: 20/01/2014 16:22:30