The British weather can be trying at the best of times, but with traffic jams, road-works and a host of other hazards to contend with, so too can driving on Britain’s roads! But when you find yourself caught in a downpour behind the wheel, what can you do to keep yourself safe?
The first thing you should do is keep a good distance from the car in front. It’s advisable to keep a two second gap in normal, dry conditions but in the wet your stopping distance is roughly doubled so you should aim to keep at least four seconds away from the vehicle you’re following. One method of doing this is to pick out a static object at the roadside such as a direction sign or street-lamp and count the time difference from when the front of the vehicle ahead of you passes the landmark until the front of your vehicle goes past the same object. This will help judge your distance, so you can amend your driving style accordingly to suit.
You should always be aware of the possibility of surface water, particularly if you’re driving in an unfamiliar area. Keep your eye firmly on the road ahead and watch out for any telltale signs, such as the traffic in front of you braking sharply. Hitting a patch of deep water at speed will have a dramatic effect on your vehicle’s handling and you could ‘aquaplane’ your vehicle which will cause a complete loss of control, so you should aim to avoid this at all costs by planning ahead as much as you can.
If you do have to drive through deep water, do so slowly in order to avoid a bow wave flooding your exhaust or engine and once through the hazard, test your brakes in order to make sure they’re still working properly, while the friction will also help evaporate any moisture present on the braking components.
Visibility is often a problem when you’re driving in heavy rain. Your vehicle can easily steam up and the spray from the road can also affect your vision of the road ahead. Make sure your demisters are on at a sufficient level to enable you to see clearly, and if you keep a safe distance you can negate the effects of surface spray from the vehicle in front of you. If your vision has become seriously jeopardised then it’s advisable to pull over in a safe place, get your windows cleared or wait until the worst of the weather has passed before resuming your journey.
In addition to taking these precautionary measures, it is important to have adequate car insurance, as other drivers might not be so cautious. Make sure your insurance policy is up to date, but if it isn’t or you don’t have a current policy, then insuring your car through an
Paul McIndoe writes for a digital marketing agency. This article has been commissioned by a client of said agency. This article is not designed to promote, but should be considered professional content.