It’s the time of year when we face months of precarious driving conditions with wind, rain and often, sleet raging through the darker days. Heavy rain and flooding can cause problems for motorists and it is wise to know how to cope when faced with a journey that encounters these situations.
Be prepared for wet weather:
Check the weather forecast and road condition updates before you travel and if you must set off, plan your journey.
• Ensure that your breakdown cover is up to date and available.
• Fully charge your mobile phone.
• Allow extra time for potential congestion and travelling at slower speeds.
• Tell your friends and family what route you are taking and your estimated time of arrival.
• Tune your radio and listen to local news detailing weather conditions, road closures and hold-ups.
Having a well-maintained vehicle will help you to be as safe as possible when driving in a wet environment. It is wise to check that the wiper blades work correctly, both front and back. If not, replace them. Do make sure that you have a full tank of fuel as traffic delays will increase fuel consumption. Check that your headlights, tail lights and brake lights are all working correctly.
When driving in wet weather, remember these useful points:
• Keep your air-con on to stop windows misting. In a car without AC you may need to keep your side windows open slightly to get the air circulating.
• Slow down – driving fast through deep water can cause expensive damage to your vehicle which can’t grip the road as firmly as it can in dry conditions.
• If driving on a motorway, stay towards the middle lanes as water tends to pool on the outside lanes.
• Avoid the use of rear fog lights which can dazzle drivers behind you and mask your brake lights.
• Don’t follow trucks or buses. Try to keep away from fast-moving, large vehicles that create heavy spray and reduce visibility.
• Double your stopping distance. The Highway Code states that in wet weather it is wise to allow for stopping distance that is double what is required on a dry road. If you drive too close to the vehicle in front you may crash if they brake suddenly. Ensure that you can stop in time.
• If your tyres feel light, you may be aquaplaning. Don’t brake, but slow down until you gain full control of the steering again.
• Don’t attempt to restart your vehicle if it cuts out after driving through deep water as this may harm the engine. Turn on the hazard warning lights and call for assistance.
• Dip your headlights so that you can be seen more easily by oncoming cars.
• If you drive through deep water, test your brakes. By driving very slowly and braking lightly you will generate enough heat to dry them out.
Flash floods can occur in minutes. Avoid the area if possible as floodwaters can be fast and contain moving debris. Take great care when driving on a road or bridge that has been recently flooded as it may be damaged or still drying out, especially in rural areas.
If you are unfortunate and breakdown in torrential and severe weather, keep the bonnet of the car closed while waiting for recovery. Damp creates problems with the engine and electrical systems, especially in older vehicles. For advise or to get your vehicle checked over contact A1 Clutches today we have branches in Birmingham, Cannock, Derby and Tipton.