Here’s What You Need To Know About Driving In Heavy Rain
The UK is leaving a heatwave and entering a period of heavy rain and thunderstorms. Here’s how to drive safely whilst the weather deteriorates…
Preparing Your Car For Heavy Rain
Before setting out in heavy rain and poor weather, it’s important to check that your car’s up to the task. First of all, make sure the windscreen wipers (front and back) are working properly. The last thing you want is to lose visibility whilst cruising down a motorway at 70mph. You should also ensure that all of your lights are functioning as they should. If at all possible, try to keep your car’s fuel tank reasonably full before setting out in bad weather. Lights, wipers and heaters will, in combination with poor traffic, consume much more fuel than usual.
It’s also crucial that you have a good amount of tread depth on your car’s tyres, as grip will be reduced in heavy rain. Finally, make sure you have a working mobile phone. This will be invaluable should you become stranded or experience a breakdown.
Driving In Poor Weather
1) Poor weather, especially heavy rain, means motorists need to adapt their driving styles. Visibility and overall grip will be greatly reduced. This means stopping distances and reaction times will be longer. It’s crucial, then, that you drive at a slower speed than you usually would.
2) In terms of lighting, use dipped headlights and avoid your rear fog lights entirely; these can dazzle other drivers.
3) Be vigilant around large or fast-moving vehicles, as they can spray you and obstruct your view.
4) Use your air conditioning to prevent your windows from steaming up.
5) If you drive to quickly through water, you may end up aquaplaning. Should this happen, your steering will feel light. To regain control, don’t use the brake and ease off of the accelerator gently.
6) Finally, be considerate to other road-users, especially pedestrians and cyclists who can easily be missed or soaked.
Tackling Flood Water
Heavy rain can produce large bodies of flood water. It’s crucial that you approach these safely…
1) Never take chances with flood water. Size it up before navigating it by deducing its depth – a stick can help with this; especially if the water is muddy or murky. If it’s too deep, turn around and find another way. Deep water can seriously damage your car but, worse still, it can render your vehicle buoyant.
2) If the water is relatively shallow, remain on your guard for any obstacles it may conceal. Debris and concealed obstacles can damage your car’s tyres and suspension system.
3) When driving through flood water, keep your car in a low gear and keep the engine revs up. This will help you maintain momentum.
4) Once you’ve reached the other side of the flood water, it makes sense to let some of the water drip off of your vehicle. It’ll hopefully end up in the main body of water and not further down the road where it can pose a danger to other drivers.
5) After crossing flood water, make sure to slightly compress your brakes. This will generate friction and, as a result, cause excess moisture to evaporate.