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Staying Safe When Driving in the Rain

Mittwoch, Mai 08, 2019

Summer may be just around the corner but remember, this is the UK and sadly it isn’t best known for its clear sunny skies. Ensuring the rubber on your wipers is in good condition and that you have plenty of tread left on your tyres are essential basic safety checks to make in any kind of wet weather, but here is some further advice on some of the more dangerous rainy conditions you may encounter on the road.

Heavy Rain:
Even if your windscreen wipers are set to maximum speed, severe rain is going to affect your visibility, so the most important thing you need to do is to slow down. Reducing your speed in heavy rain will give you more time to assess and react to any situations unfolding ahead of you, and don’t forget, Rule 126 of the Highway Code states that you need to leave at least a four second gap for braking distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you in wet road conditions. 

Another thing to remember is to manually turn on your headlights if the weather conditions are causing poor or low-light visibility.

Flooded Roads:
The first rule of a flooded road is: if there is another route you can take to avoid the flood – take it. Driving through floods runs a real risk of your engine taking on water, and if this happens, your engine will hydro lock and stop working immediately. As a rule of thumb, if the standing water is six inches deep or deeper, do not attempt to drive through it (please note: certain vehicles will be unable to drive through less water than this). 

Assess the situation, the height of your vehicle and make a sensible choice when deciding whether to drive through. To help you make a judgement call, you can see if other vehicles similar to yours are passing through the flood water without issue, and if you do decide to follow, make sure to travel through the water slowly whilst keeping your engine revs higher than usual – this will help to prevent water from entering your exhaust. 

Once you have passed the flood water, always check that your brakes are dry and working properly before continuing your journey. If you are in any doubt about whether you can safely cross the flood, turn around and try to find an alternate route.

Vehicle Aquaplaning:
Aquaplaning can be a very scary experience and usually occurs when it is raining heavily and/or there is light flooding or puddled water on the roads. 

Making sure you have deep tread on your tyres and lowering your speed can help to reduce the chances of this happening, however it’s important to remember that if your vehicle does begin to aquaplane, try not to panic and do not slam on the brakes – instead, ease off the accelerator slowly, don’t make any sudden steering actions and keep a firm grip of your steering wheel. Following these steps will help your car to regain its grip on the road surface and stop aquaplaning.

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