We are used to bad weather in the UK, but when storms happen, a bit more care is needed when driving.
9% of reported vehicle accidents in the UK in 2018 were the result of poor visibility and slippery road surfaces due to rain, sleet, snow and hail. So here are tips on keeping safe on the road during heavy rain and strong winds:
We hear this advice all the time on the news when storms are in full swing, but it’s something that we really should listen to as you are more likely to have an accident on the road when visibility is poor and crosswinds are pushing against your car.
If you do need to travel in a storm, give yourself extra time to complete your journey and try to stick to main roads. That way you are less likely to encounter fallen branches, debris, and flooding, and you’ll have time to take any detours if needed.
If there is low visibility from heavy downpours, it’s important that you put your headlights on, dipped, so that other vehicles can see you, and you can see a bit further ahead.
You don’t want to be soaking wet and cold at the side of the road if your car breaks down. So it’s a good idea to have a waterproof coat and warm clothing in the car for everyone travelling with you. It’ll make for a much more comfortable wait for the recovery truck!
If you do come across a flooded road, don’t attempt to drive through it! You cannot be sure how deep the water is, or what hazards are beneath the surface. Cars float in as little as 30cms of water, and just a small amount of water getting into your engine can damage your car beyond repair.
Spray from other cars can seriously reduce your visibility, and it happens suddenly, so pay extra attention to the road in front. Watch out for spray coming up from the tyres of other vehicles, and be aware of any deep puddles you may be driving through, creating a splash and impairing the vision of other drivers.
Be aware of any gaps between buildings and tree lines at the sides of the road as you approach, as this is where side-winds will be strongest. Sudden gusts could catch you off guard, so make sure you leave space either side of your vehicle.
If the road is wet and your visibility is reduced, reduce your speed! This gives you more time to react to hazards as they happen, and it’s better to be safe and a bit late, than to rush and risk an accident.
Wet road surfaces lead to longer braking distances, so give yourself a bigger gap between the vehicle in front, ideally there should be at least four seconds between you and the car in front.
If you’ve ever driven on a windy day, you would have felt it buffering against your car. This can lead to the car veering out of the lane, so make sure you drive with both hands firmly on the wheel so that you can keep your car on the right path.