The great British weather isn’t always perfect, with an average of 156.2 days of rain a year! That’s why it’s important to be prepared to drive in wet conditions, as safely as possible. We’ve pulled together ten things that you need to consider before heading out in your vehicle on those damper days.
What should I do before I set off?
There are a few things you should do before setting off:
- Check your tyres – the less tread on the tyres, the less grip they have. Find out how to see if your tyres are safe here.
- Check your vitals – the last thing you want is to get caught out in bad weather with a headlight out.
- Plan your journey – remember, traffic will be slower than usual and incidents are more likely, so allow extra time, and avoid flood-prone areas.
- Charge your phone – make sure your phone can easily last for the length of your journey – you don’t want to be walking to the nearest help phone!
- Check the forecast – if the weather is due to get worse, decide if your journey really is essential.
How do I stay up to date with travel information?
Keep up to date with travel information by tuning into the local radio station. Some vehicles allow you to activate local traffic reports, making it easy to stay up-to-date.
Should I drive at normal speed?
No. Stopping distances double when the roads are wet, meaning you need to be braking earlier than usual, and allowing extra space between you and the vehicle in front. This is also because your tyres have less grip on the road, so they take longer to react.
What setting should I have my lights on?
Use your dipped headlights, so other drivers can see you easily, and avoid your rear fog lights as these can mask your brakes and dazzle drivers behind you.
How can I reduce the risk of low visibility in rainy conditions?
Naturally your visibility will be affected in rainy conditions, so it is important that you keep your windows clean and clear. You should also make sure your wipers are fully functional – although this is important all year round!
What if the water looks deep?
If the water you’re wanting to pass through looks to be more than ankle-deep, don’t drive through it as this can cause major damage to your vehicle.
What if my steering becomes unresponsive?
If your steering feels unresponsive, it is likely that you are aquaplaning – this is when water is preventing your tyres from gripping the road. Harsh braking can cause skidding, so ease off the accelerator and slow down gradually instead.
What if I break down?
It would be typical to break down as soon as the heavens have opened! And whilst our vehicles cope well in the rain, the electric system doesn’t. Make sure you keep your bonnet closed until help arrives to prevent any water damage.
It’s sensible to keep a coat and torch in your car at all times in case you do break down, especially in bad weather.