Spring might be here but the great British wet weather isn’t going anywhere any time soon! Driving in the rain can be tricky with the water lashing your windscreen preventing a clear view of the road as well as water on the roads making losing control of your vehicle easier than under dry conditions.
Here we share our top tips for driving safely in the rain to help keep not only you and your passengers safe, but also the myriad of other road users.
How to prepare for driving in heavy rain
Before you set off
Double Check Your Car’s Equipment
- Ensure your windshield wipers, particularly the wiper blades are in good condition
- Check your tyre tread depth to ensure your tyres are in optimum condition to give you the best grip on the road surface, you may opt to switch to winter tyres to assist with wet weather driving.
- Check your lights including brake lights and fog lights which will be essential in inclement weather
- Ensure your air conditioning has been re-gassed where necessary to help clear your windows of condensation. Help with knowing if your air con needs regassing can be found in our previous blog.
- Ensure you have a waterproof and umbrella in case of being stranded in heavy rain and remember not to prop your bonnet open whilst you wait for assistance to prevent water getting into the electrics.
Turn On Your Headlights
Before you start off, always turn on your headlights to help make your car more visible to other road users.
Driving in wet weather – what to do whilst on the road
Slow Down and Maintain a Safe Distance Between other Cars
Braking distance will double on wet roads so it is important that you slow down and double your distance between other cars when driving in the rain to avoid an accident. People seem to be in a rush and none more so than in the driving rain so try to take your time to help keep you and other safe.
Use your fog lights if necessary
In particularly dark, dank and foggy weather, and especially when driving on a dual carriageway or motorway, there is reduced visibility. It is essential to use your fog lights to make yourself more visible to other vehicles when driving in these conditions.
Avoid Heavy Braking
Suddenly applying the brake pedal in heavy rain can make your car lose traction and you may, in turn, lose control of the vehicle.
Brake gently and avoid sudden, heavy braking by reducing your speed and increasing your distance between other vehicles.
Keep your car ventilated
Foggy windows will significantly reduce your visibility, making it harder to see other cars, bikes and pedestrians. Keep your windows clear by ventilating your car well using your air conditioning or using a cloth to wipe away any condensation that builds up.
Watch out for other road users
Watch out for other drivers who may not be as clued up on wet weather driving or those who may have lost control in the wet conditions, maintain a larger gap between any cars driving erratically.
It is also a good idea to give both cyclists and pedestrians more space to avoid catching them with any spray created by your vehicle.
Watch Out For Standing Water
Standing water in the form of large puddles can cause your car to hydroplane, read on below to find out more about how to deal with driving through flood water and standing water safely.
How to drive safely through standing water and floods
You should never drive through water you do not know or cannot tell the depth of, flood water can quickly overwhelm your car’s engine and cause it to cut out, leaving you stranded or fast moving water can even have the power to sweep your car away. You should turn around and make an alternative journey if you come across a flood and only make journeys where absolutely necessary.
You shouldn’t drive into standing water more than 10cm deep, the majority of cars on the road simply aren’t equipped to drive through even moderately deep water. If you do drive through standing water then drive as slowly as possible to prevent your car creating a bough wave and you should test your brakes as soon as possible afterwards to ensure they are working correctly
What to do if your car begins to aquaplane
Driving too fast through standing water can cause your vehicle to aquaplane or hydroplane, this means there is a layer of water between your car’s tyres and the road surface so that the tyres are no longer in direct contact with the road surface. This means that you can start to lose control of your vehicle.
When aquaplaning your steering suddenly feels light and the rear of the car may drift from side to side, it can be a pretty terrifying experience and something you will want to avoid wherever possible by sticking to our wet weather driving tips above.
Sometimes though, it is unavoidable. But there are several key things you should do if you find your car aquaplaning in order to reduce the risk of an accident and quickly regain control of your vehicle.
- Gently ease off the accelerator and switch off cruise control if it is on.
- Hold the steering wheel straight.
- As you begin to regain control you can start to apply the brakes to reduce your speed further until your car is fully under control.
- DO NOT slam your brakes on or make any sudden adjustments with your steering wheel, this may cause you to lose control even further, leading to an accident.
Remember, take your time and drive safely in the wet weather we love to hate in this country! If you need any checks to your vehicle before the soggy driving season ahead then we would be more than happy to help here at Peverell Garage, fill in our contact form or give us a call on 01752 266099.