STAY SAFE WHATEVER THE WEATHER
There’s no denying it, this winter has been one of the wettest and warmest on record as the Met Office advises that the last few months have seen record rainfall and temperatures more often associated with the British summertime.
As wet weather can cause some of the most hazardous driving conditions, we thought we would share some useful tips and hints to help you through these uncharacteristically wet conditions.
To begin, plan your journey in advance and take care to avoid areas which are prone to flooding and factor in extra time to allow for slower speeds and potential congestion. It’s important to ensure your vehicle is also prepared by checking windscreen wiper blades are fully functional and that you have sufficient fuel, as using lights and heaters or being caught in traffic can use more fuel than driving in normal conditions.
While on the road, use dipped headlights so that other drivers can see you more easily. Be careful not to use rear fog lights as this can mask your brake lights or dazzle drivers behind you. Perhaps most importantly, reduce your speed and leave more space between you and the vehicle in front to account for greater stopping distances – remember to double the two-second rule as ‘only a fool breaks the two second rule’.
Watch out for spray from other large or fast moving vehicles and remember that driving fast through standing water could lead to tyres losing contact with the road. If this happens, do not brake but ease off the accelerator and allow your speed to reduce until you gain full control of the steering again.
Driving fast through deep water or flooded areas can also cause serious damage and be expensive to repair, so don’t attempt to drive through water unless you are sure of the depth – the edge of the kerb is a good indicator. Motoring organisations also advise to never attempt to drive through fast flowing water as vehicles can easily get swept away and remember to test your brakes after leaving any water.
As we head in to February, we may yet see the more typical freezing or snowy conditions return. If that’s the case, check all windows, lights and number plates are clear, so you can both see and be seen.
Do keep a watch out for icy conditions as clear winter skies can quickly leave areas frozen, particularly if the road surface is wet. Good indicators of ice on the roads can be frozen windscreens or pavements. In icy conditions remember to accelerate and brake gently to avoid skidding.
When driving in such wintery conditions, use a higher gear than normal as it helps reduce wheel spin on slippery surfaces and move off gently to avoid spinning the wheels. As with wet weather conditions, leave extra space between you and other vehicles and take even more care at junctions where road markings may not be visible or snow compacted.
By following these simple measures, and taking extra care of yourself and vehicle during these wet and wintery conditions, we hope that you stay safe whatever the weather.