We’ve faced some pretty challenging driving conditions during the past couple of winters, to say the least. Although you’ve managed to stay safe so far, it’s important to be prepared and keep learning.
You might have gotten to grips with driving in the snow (or getting good at avoiding it completely) with the Beast from the East, but storms bring about a whole host of new weather experiences to deal with, such as strong winds and heavy rain. Fasten your seatbelts, we’ve put together some tips on how to keep safe when you’re taken by storm:
1. Avoid using your car if possible
This will always be our first recommendation. If it looks bad, don’t drive unless you absolutely have to. Enjoy a day in with some Netflix or use another mode of transport if possible.
2. Make sure everything’s in order
Although this is something you should always keep on top of, it’s all the more important in stormy weather! Make sure your windscreen wipers are working and that your tyres have enough tread (remember – The law requires car tyres to have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm; check our tyre guide). Make sure the heater works so you can use it not just to keep you warm, but also to effectively clear the mist from the inside of your car’s windows.
3. Slow down
There’s no need to drive at the speed limit (remember it’s a maximum not a target). If the conditions of the road are too slippery/it’s too windy or visibility is low, reduce your speed. Refer to The Highway Code rules 125 and 126 for more information.
4. Keep your distance
This is probably one of the most important safety tips we can give you. In rainy weather the time it takes for you to come to a stop (even when you put your foot fully down on the brake) will increase. You may feel that you are able to brake in time, but never underestimate other road users.
5. Be mindful of large vehicles
They may not be able to see you! Either that or if you get too close you’ll be battling lots of spray (particularly on motorways).
6. Turn your lights on
Turn your dipped beam headlights on to help other vehicles see you (even if its daylight). Remember, don’t use your fog lamps unless the visibility is very poor.
7. Keep a firm grip on the wheel
Keep both hands on the wheel in case the wind begins to move your vehicle or if you hit surface water (aquaplaning).
Just remember it’s perfectly natural to feel anxious driving in these sorts of conditions, but follow the above steps, adapt your driving style and you’ll learn and start to build your confidence for the next time you have to drive in rain, snow or wind.