3 min read
Driving in extreme weather conditions such as heavy rain and flooding can be dangerous, but we have a few helpful hints to reduce your chances of being involved in an accident or breaking down.
Firstly, make the assessment whether your journey is really necessary. When severe weather warnings are in place it is advised to delay your journey until the weather subsides. If your trip is essential, follow these tips before you head out:
Plan your journey, if you know of a safer road that isn’t so rural - take it!
Listen out for local news and check for up-to-date forecasts.
Fully charge your phone, just in case you need help along the way.
Check that your tyres are up to scratch, as a low tyre thread depth can affect your grip on the road.
Rule no.1 – Check everything is in working order!
It’s always important to double check your cars equipment in rainy weather. Give a quick look to see if your headlights and tail lights are working. It’s also imperative you check your tyres – balding tyres can severely reduce traction on wet roads.
Lastly, don’t forget your wipers – your worst nightmare would be to realise your wipers don’t work in the middle of driving!
Rule No.2 - Slow down!
Rain reduces your ability to see and stopping distances will be at least double in wet weather. Remember the two-second rule? Well change it to the four-second rule to be on the safe side.
There’s also the added danger of aquaplaning and losing control of your car.
What is aquaplaning?
It’s caused when water gathers in the grooves of your tyres and the water doesn’t flow away from the tyres fast enough so it feels like sliding on ice. If the thread depth on your tyres isn’t at the minimum standard of 1.6mm, it can increase the risk of aquaplaning, therefore increasing the risk of losing grip and control of your steering and braking – potentially causing an accident.
Rule No.3 – Lights!
Wet weather tends to bring dark clouds with it, therefore your ability to see other road users is greatly reduced – it’s a good idea to stick on your dipped headlights as a precaution. Many people assume that using rear fog lights is useful however the RAC recommends that they can mask your brake lights and dazzle drivers behind you.
Many of our country roads lack a proper drainage system and can become blocked very quickly with mud and leaves, therefore heavy rainfall can easily lead to a sizable body of water which can cause serious damage to your car and a hefty repair bill. Did you know it only takes a small cupful of water to be sucked into your engine to wreck it?
Follow these tips to help you drive through floods:
If you’re driving on unknown roads, size up the puddle first – if you think it’s too deep, turn around and find an alternative route.
Don’t drive into flood water that’s moving.
If you judge the puddle depth to be ok, drive through it in a low gear and avoid the deepest part – which is normally near the kerb.
Remember to test your brakes as soon as you can afterwards to make sure they still work.
If you break down in heavy rain, keep your bonnet closed to avoid the electrical system getting soaked.
If you stop dead after going through a body of water, do not attempt to restart it as you might cause engine damage. Instead, turn on your hazard lights and call for assistance.
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