Kwik Fit | Wednesday 25th September 2019 10:05am
If you’re planning on driving this week, make sure that you’re prepared for the wet weather conditions. Rain can make driving more hazardous as it takes longer for your vehicle to stop and there is also a higher risk of aquaplaning. Before setting off, make sure you follow these simple tips so that you arrive at your destination safely.
Before setting off
Before driving in heavy rain, consider whether your journey is really necessary and whether you can wait for the weather to clear before setting off. If your journey is essential, make sure that you complete these checks before heading out to stay safe on the roads.
One of the parts of your vehicle that you should check before driving in wet weather is your windscreen wipers. It is important that both your front and rear windscreen wipers are fully functional to clear the windscreens of water so that you can see the road clearly.
We’d also advise you to top up your fuel tank before heading off as there will be more traffic on the roads. This will increase your fuel consumption so make sure that you have a full tank to avoid running out of fuel.
With the increased number of vehicles on the road and a higher likelihood of accidents, it is important to listen out for traffic updates. This will enable you to find the quickest route by avoiding congestion and flooding.
Make sure to carry your mobile phone with you just in case you encounter any difficulties and need to get in touch with anyone.
Finally, before setting off, you should complete these simple checks on your tyres. In the wet, you rely on your tyres more than ever to maintain grip on the roads so make sure that yours are safe before you head off.
The most important thing to remember when driving in the rain is to slow down. Driving at high speeds in the rain is dangerous as stopping distances are increased giving you less time to react to hazards.
You should also turn on your dipped headlights as visibility is reduced in the rain and this enables other drivers to see you more clearly. However, don’t be tempted to switch on your rear fog lights as this can make it difficult for drivers behind you to see ahead. Another visibility issue that you should be aware of its looking out for spray being created by large or fast vehicles. Keeping your air con on will also help with visibility as this prevents your windows misting up.
Look out for large puddles of water as driving through these too quickly can not only cause damage to your vehicle but also splash pedestrians or other vehicles. Driving too fast through water can also lead to your tyres losing grip and your vehicle aquaplaning. If you feel yourself going into a skid, ease off the gas until you regain control. After you’ve driven through standing water, you should test your brakes to make sure that they are still functioning as they should. You can do this by driving slowly and lightly pressing your brakes taking care to check that there are no other vehicles in close proximity.
Maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front. Increased stopping distances mean that a greater distance is required to give you time to react. You should also avoid braking harshly as this can be unsafe on wet roads.
You should also take extra care at junctions as water can build up here as well as vehicle fluids which can cause a major skid risk. Therefore, you should approach junctions at a low speed remaining aware of everything going on around you.
Heavy rain is often accompanied by strong winds so make sure that you are in control of your vehicle with good grip on the steering wheel. It is best to be prepared for a sudden gust of wind to prevent you being taken by surprise and unable to react quickly enough.
An extended period of heavy rain inevitably leads to flooding in some areas. Some roads that are near rivers flood often and these will have markers which indicate how deep the standing water is. However, in other areas that are less prone to flooding, there won’t be any indicator as to how deep the water is. In this case, if the water looks deep and you’re unsure, it’s usually best to see if there is another route you can take. If you do drive through standing water, ensure that you take it slowly as you could cause issues for other road users or damage to your own vehicle. If your engine gets water logged, this can lead to engine failure.
Breaking down in the rain
RAC statistics show that the number of breakdowns that occur increase in wet weather. If you’re unfortunate enough to breakdown in the rain, make sure that you leave your bonnet closed while waiting for recovery to stop vehicle components from getting water damaged.
Driving in the rain can be more hazardous than in dry conditions. However, if you follow these simple tips you will keep both yourself and other road users safe.
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