Driving Safely in Bad Weather

It’s just after Christmas and the weather, for a large part of the UK at least, is dreadful.

Published: 7th January 2014

It’s just after Christmas, that festive feeling has all but disappeared and to top it all the weather, for a large part of the UK at least, is dreadful.

It’s hardly the most exciting topic to cheer up your new year and it is best to avoid driving in severe conditions altogether. However if you do have to venture out here are a few tips to help you drive safely.

Dealing with heavy rain and flooding

  • Avoid standing or moving water

It might sound obvious but if you can avoid driving through the flood water then you should. If it is unavoidable, then as a rule of thumb don’t try to drive through more than 6 inches of standing water or 4 inches of moving water.

  • Keep revs high and speed low

If it’s safe and you decide to drive through stay in first gear and stay in the middle of the road where the depth of the water should be at its lowest. Keep your revs high to stop water entering the exhaust and keep speed low to avoid flooding the engine.

Even where there are smaller puddles, keep speed lower to prevent aquaplaning. If this happens ease off the accelerator slowly rather than applying the brakes.

  • Test and dry your brakes

Once you’ve made it through the water, dry your brakes by pressing them gently a few times.

  • Watch out for other drivers

It can be annoying when you’re taking these kinds of precautions to then have other drivers ignoring the conditions. This can cause problems where the other vehicle is a 4×4, van or truck and causes a bow wave which effectively drenches your car.

  • Worst case scenario

If your car does get flooded and the engine stops there are a few things you can do to prevent further damage. Firstly leave the bonnet closed to stop any more water getting in. Get out of your car, secure it and move away to a safe, dry area.

Driving in high winds

In addition to the heavy rain, high winds are also causing problems. The best thing to do to avoid being pushed off course is keep speed down and be aware of sudden gusts on exposed roads and passing other vehicles (particularly high sided vehicles).

Another danger can be other road users, again high sided vehicles, but also take extra care near cyclists, motorcyclists and horse-riders.

Finally, as a result of high winds there can be debris blown onto roads, including branches and sometimes fallen trees. Take particular care on country roads especially early in the morning, at night and during times of poor visibility.

Click here to read more: Guides ALA Connect.

Published: 7th January 2014
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