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Wet Weather Driving Advice
14th April 2016
The dangers posed by wet weather driving are frequently underestimated but these conditions can be hazardous. Take a look at our tips for driving in wet weather to keep yourself safe on the road.
Prepare your vehicle
Are you confident that your vehicle is ready to cope with a torrential downpour or a sudden rain shower? If not, here are the areas you should focus on checking:
- Windscreen Wipers – check that both front and back sets of wipers are fully functional and have no signs of cracks, splits or other damage. If they do, you will need to have them replaced.
- Washer Fluid – ensure that your screen wash is topped up as you may need to clean mud or spray from your windscreen in wet conditions.
- Lights – check that all your lights are working before setting off on a journey.
- Tyres – it is important that you are confident your tyres have adequate tread depth to maintain good levels of grip with the road. This can reduce your chances of aquaplaning.
Before you set off
Check the weather forecast before setting off on your journey and if conditions seem bad, try to avoid routes that may be prone to flooding and factor in extra time to allow for slower speeds and potential traffic. You should also ensure that you have a mobile phone with you in case you do face difficulties on the road.
Driving in rain
When driving in wet conditions you will need to maintain a slower speed than usual. This is because rain can cause road surfaces to become slippery and slower speeds will help your tyres to maintain a better contact with the road, helping you to avoid skidding. You should also avoid making any sudden moves, sharp steering or braking as this could unbalance your vehicle.
Remember that braking distances are almost double in wet conditions so you should double the distance you would usually keep from the vehicle in front. This should allow you to stop if the car in front brakes without warning.
If you do breakdown in rain, do not open your bonnet unless absolutely necessary as the water could cause damage to your engine.
Driving through flooded areas
Driving through water can be dangerous and could cause damage to your vehicle. You should never drive through water that is deeper that six inches standing or four inches moving. The kerb will usually provide a good indication of how deep the water is. If you cannot tell how deep the water is, you should avoid driving through it.
When driving through flooded areas, keep to the highest section of the road. Get in to first gear and keep your foot on the accelerator, to avoid allowing water to enter your exhaust. Maintain a slow speed and ensure you have a clear path through and unless absolutely necessary do not stop your vehicle in standing water.
When you exit the flooded area, check your brakes as soon as it is safe to do so. You can do this by lightly applying them and this will also help them to dry out.
What to do if you aquaplane
Aquaplaning is the term given to a loss of control on wet surfaces. This is caused by a lack of traction between the tyres and the surface of the road. When aquaplaning you will have little steering control and this can be scary, however, avoid the temptation to brake as this is likely to cause skidding.
Instead, gently remove your feet from the pedals and keep the steering wheel pointing in the direction of travel without steering. Your tyres should begin to regain contact with the road once you slow down and pass through the water.
For more advice on driving in wet weather you can contact your local Merityre Specialists where our experts will be happy to offer further guidance.