It’s raining, and this wet weather should be no surprise – it’s a typical British summer. However, there have been some unusually high winds accompanying the downpours, and it makes for hazardous driving.
With the support of IAM RoadSmart, here are few ways to keep safe in heavy rain and floods.
The dangers of driving in wet weather
Driving in heavy rain will affect your visibility, so take it slow. Rule 126 of the Highway Code states that the braking distance between yourself and another car on a dry road surface should be at least two seconds. And at least four seconds when driving in the rain
Ensure your windscreen wipers are working correctly, and that the windscreen is clean. Using your wipers when you have a dirty windscreen will smear and make your visibility even worse
Turn on your headlights. Many automated lights, will not come on in adverse weather conditions; ensure they are on, so you’re visible to other road users. A good rule of thumb is that if you need your wipers on, then you need your headlights on too
Aquaplaning is not fun
Is your car aquaplaning? Here are some signs that you could be:
- Your engine may become louder if the driving wheels have lost grip
- It will feel as though you’ve dropped down in the gears causing revs to increase
- The steering may become lighter and unresponsive
- If you experience any of this, try not to panic. Follow these tips:
- Ease off the accelerator or cancel the cruise control
- Hold the steering wheel straight and firm
- Do not hit your brakes hard
- When your car gains traction, you can slowly begin to use the brake and slow down.
How to avoid aquaplaning in wet weather
There are things that you can do to help prevent your car from aquaplaning. Standing water as shallow as 2.5mm can cause an aquaplaning effect at speed, so be sure to follow the steps below:
Check your tyres: they can have a massive impact on how your car will handle in the wet.
Reduce your speed; problems occur when the tyres can no longer clear the standing water as they rotate. Going slower will allow time for the tread to do its job
Avoid using cruise control in extreme conditions
Be alert for flood warnings on the road and if you can see any water in the distance, be sure to slow down and prepare to go around it
Wet weather can bring floods
If there are floods, you need to consider other routes to keep you safe. If the water is standing more than six inches deep, avoid driving through it. You can judge the depth with the kerb
If similar vehicles are driving safely through, then you can make a judgement call on whether it’s safe to do so yourself.
If the water is fast flowing, do not attempt to drive through it. There is a real danger of you and your car sweeping away
If you have decided to drive through a flood, take the following precautions:
- Go slowly and take it easy
- Press lightly on the clutch and add gentle pressure to the accelerator to increase engine revs but do so without speed. Do this in a similar way to how you do hill starts; this will prevent water from entering your exhaust. If you’re in an automatic, accelerate slightly but control the speed with your brakes
- If you have any doubt, turn back. Often modern saloon cars have an air intake in the wheel arch and could be below water level if going through a flood. If your engine takes in any water, it immediately becomes hydro lock, and the engine will stop
- Remember to stay alert and avoid splashing pedestrians. If it accidentally happens, you can still receive a fixed penalty and three points on your license for driving without due care and attention. If done deliberately it could be a public order offence, a court appearance, or a fine.
Wet weather challenges are no problem with My Fleet Solutions
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For example, let our accident management experts, Amber:Assist, guide you through all your options in the event of an accident. From the first notification, whether it is your driver’s fault or a non-fault claim. Stay on top of smart repairs or accident damage with expert assistance on which body shop is the most appropriate and pay fleet rates for repairs.
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If you’re looking for a stress-free working day, despite the wet weather, there is only one place to find everything: My Fleet Solutions.