Top 5 Tips for Driving Safely in Wet Weather:
- Prepare yourself and your car for wet weather driving
- Slow down and keep your distance
- Avoid Aquaplaning
- Don't splash cyclists / pedestrians
- Remember your hazards if you break down
We’re going to cross our fingers and hope that we’ve seen the end of the coldest weather for this year. We hope that the tips we’ve given you on how to drive in frosty conditions and how to survive the snow in your car have been of help.
Just because the weather is warming up a bit, doesn’t mean the end to hazardous driving conditions. Yes, you can be sure that the other hot topic for British weather chit chat - rain - will, at some stage, be making us think twice about heading out. Unlike frost, ice and snow, rain is a year-round test for any driver, falling in varying amounts with little warning.
Of course, we’d always recommend that you stay put if you feel at all apprehensive about driving in wet weather, whether it’s an April shower or the tail end of a hurricane. Rain can be here one minute and gone the next so if you get caught, pull over to a safe place and wait it out. Here are our top tips on how you should handle your car to stay safe in wet weather conditions:
Brace Yourself for Wet Weather Driving
Check your car’s windscreen wipers are in good working order; your heater/air con/climate control is functioning properly for easy demisting of windows and your car’s tyres are the correct pressure (refer to manual or inside of driver’s door).
Notify friends and/or family that you are heading out in the car, where you are going and your expected time of arrival. Arm yourself with a mobile phone before you set off so you can call for assistance if you need to, and ensure that your car’s fuel tank is kept topped up, in case you get stuck in a traffic jam.
Slow Down and Keep your Distance
Water on the road causes slippery conditions, therefore increasing a vehicle’s stopping distance. Heavy rain will also cause poor visibility, meaning that you might find it difficult to see hazards on the road ahead.
Give yourself more time to brake or steer away from danger by reducing your speed and leaving more space between your car and the vehicle in front. Also use dipped headlights so that you can be seen more easily by others but avoid using fog lights which will dazzle drivers behind you.
If your car’s tyres lose contact with the road, you might aquaplane out of control. A warning sign that this is happening is that your steering might suddenly feel light.
Don’t brake, simply ease off the accelerator, reducing your speed until you feel that steering has returned to normal and your car has regained its grip on the road.
Don’t Make a Splash!
Have a bit of sympathy for those cycling or walking in the rain. They’ll be soggy enough without you driving close enough to splash them. Keep your distance, even if this means waiting until they have walked or ridden out of splash range.
Always err on the side of caution when faced with a flooded road. If you can’t see the bottom of the puddle, take a different route - you don’t know what hazards could be lurking beneath the water. If you must drive through it, keep in a low gear and pause once you’ve left the water to allow your car to drain, then dab the brakes a couple of times to dry them out with friction.
Don’t attempt to restart an engine that has cut out after driving through water. This could cause irreparable damage. Turn on the hazard lights, call for assistance and get a professional to give your car the once over.
If you break down in torrential rain, it might be tempting to sit tight. Don’t! In poor visibility, your car or van could be even more of a target for passing traffic so follow usual protocol - switch on your hazard lights and get yourself to a place of safety before calling roadside assistance.
Avoid soggy electrics by keeping the bonnet closed while you wait for help and make good use of that golf umbrella that you have stashed in your boot for this exact reason!
Don’t let a rainy day ruin your plans. We know you’ll always take care when driving and prepare for every eventuality. Make sure that your car is also ready for all weathers by booking it in for a health check so you’ll be safe on the road, whatever the weather.