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Wet Weather Driving Advice
Wet weather poses a number of dangers for motorists as flooding occurs, road surfaces become slippery and heavy rain can obstruct your view. If you must drive in wet weather conditions, make sure you keep yourself and your passengers safe with our helpful tips:
Are You Prepared?
Before setting off on a journey during heavy rain you should consider if it is essential. Breakdowns and accidents are more likely to occur in wet weather so you should first evaluate if your journey can wait until the rain has subsided. If not, you must make sure that you are prepared for your drive.
First check the weather forecast and ensure that you avoid any routes that you know are prone to flooding or feature a ford. Factor in extra time for your journey as you will need to drive at a slower speed and there may be more traffic on the road.
Ensure that your vehicle is prepared for driving in wet weather by making the following checks:
- Check your tyre tread and ensure that it is over 3mm. When tyre tread drops below this point your tyres cannot provide the gripping capabilities and aquaplaning resistance that you require to remain safe in wet weather.
- Inspect your windscreen wipers for any signs of damage such as fraying, splits or tears and replace them if necessary. You should also replace your wipers if they leave streaks on your windscreen or no longer clear all water from your windscreen on each pass.
- Ensure that your screen wash is sufficiently topped up as you may need to quickly clean mud, dirt or debris from the glass.
- Check that your brakes work effectively before setting off on any journey and make an appointment for a free brake check if you have any concerns.
Beware of First Rain
When it begins to rain, no matter how lightly, you should adjust your speed accordingly. When it rains, water combines with mud and oil on the surface of the road and this creates a slippery surface that sits on the road.
During first rain, even if the downpour is light, roads will be at their slipperiest so you must take care to reduce your speed and allow a larger gap between your vehicle and the one ahead as stopping distances are almost doubled in wet conditions.
How to Drive in Heavy Rain
The main rule for wet weather is to slow down! This is because driving at fast speeds can cause your tyres to lose contact with the surface of the road and this can result in aquaplaning.
It is a good idea to switch your air conditioning on to de-mist your windscreen, as your windows are more likely to mist up in wet conditions.
If you are struggling to see other vehicles due to heavy rainfall chances are they are also struggling to see you! Switch your dipped headlights on in this situation to make sure that you can be seen easily by oncoming traffic.
How to Cope with Skidding
Aquaplaning occurs when your tyres lose contact with the surface of the road and causes you to lose control of your vehicle as it skids. Skidding can be daunting and your natural reaction will be to brake and sharply steer – but this is the worst thing you can do!
If you find yourself skidding, avoid the temptation to brake or accelerate as this will only exacerbate the skid. Instead, steer gently in to the skid, avoiding any sudden movements of the steering wheel. As your tyres begin to regain traction with the road, gently brake and steer your vehicle back to the direction you wish to go.
How to Drive Through Flooded Areas
Driving through standing water or flooded areas is dangerous as you will have limited control of your vehicle and water can cause irreparable damage to your engine and other vehicle components. Merityre Specialists would advise avoiding driving through standing water or flooded areas at all costs.
If you have no other choice other than to drive through a flooded area, you must proceed with extreme caution and be aware that you may cause expensive damage to your car.
When driving through water, always check that your route ahead is clear as you do not want to stop your car in water. Stick to the highest part of the road and use first gear to drive through the flooded area. When driving, you should keep your foot on the accelerator as this will help to avoid water entering your exhaust.
When you exit the flooded area, you should lightly apply your brakes to ensure that they are still working effectively, If they are not, you must pull over and call for assistance as driving with damaged brakes is highly dangerous for you and other motorists.
If you require further guidance on driving in wet weather conditions you can contact your local Merityre Specialists where our experts will be happy to offer further advice on staying safe in wet weather.