TOP TIPS: Driving in the rain

With the recent floods and more bad weather to come here are a few tips to keep in mind when driving in the rain.

Before you set off:

  • If your journey isn’t essential, wait until the rain has stopped or has at least calmed down. If you do need to travel, plan your journey in advance to avoid flood risk-areas and leave earlier, allowing extra time for traffic, diversions or over problems.
  • Check that your windscreen wiper blades – both front and back.
  • Check your fuel levels – you’ll be using your lights, heaters and starting and stopping more.
  • Have food and drink; warm clothing and a mobile phone with you in case of emergencies.

On the road:

  • Use dipped headlights.
  • Do not use rear fog lights. They can mask your brake lights and dazzle drivers behind you
  • Think about your following and stopping distance. In rain you should be at least 4 seconds behind the car in front. Think about increasing this distance in very heavy rain.
  • Remember large vehicles will create spray which will reduce your visibility.
  • Be aware of other road users – try to slow when driving through large puddles to prevent spraying pedestrians and bikers.
  • Remember that driving too fast through water can cause aquaplaning. This is where your tyres lose contact with the road. If this happens, do not brake but ease off the accelerator to reduce your speed until you gain control again.
  • If you have driven through a lot of water, such as a deep puddle or partially flooded road, remember to test your brakes.
  • If you break down in torrential rain keep the bonnet closed while waiting for help to arrive, to avoid the electrical system getting soaked. If on a dangerous road, move away from the vehicle but try to remain as visible as possible.
  • Turn on the radio – this will keep you up to date with road closures and traffic.


Driving in flooded areas

  • If you are unsure how deep the water is, do not attempt to drive through it. If you do go through water, drive on the highest part of the road
  • Drive slowly so you do not create a wave. Make sure you have a clear route ahead so you do not have to stop in standing water. Allow oncoming traffic to pass first if need be.
  • Keep a safe distance behind other vehicles – remember your following distance!
  • Never attempt to drive through fast flowing water – you could easily get swept away.
  • Always test your brakes after leaving flood water

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