The British weather is famous for being notoriously bad, but the past few weeks have been particularly awful! The seemingly endless rain doesn’t only make us feel down, it has also brought about difficult driving conditions. Storms can bring heavy rain and winds, and as the temperatures plummet, and daylight hours shorten, driving in heavy rain can be hazardous.
In this article, as an independent car garage, we’ve outlined some driving tips for staying safe on the roads and preparing your car for the conditions ahead.
1. Slow down and leave extra room
This might be one of the first lessons you learn when you start to drive, and we can’t emphasise how important it is. Heavy and constant rain can leave a surface of water on the road, which can make it harder for your tyres to grip. This can cause slower braking times, and an increased risk of hydroplaning.
Hydroplaning can occur when your tyres lose contact with the road, due to a build of water (rain).
To help tyres keep contact with the road, and reduce the chances of hydroplaning, drivers should:
- Slow their speed to match the conditions
- Avoid hard braking and sharp turns – leave plenty of time to conduct the manoeuvre safely
- Drive in the tracks of the vehicle ahead
It’s also important for drivers to allow ample stopping distance between cars by increasing the following distance of the vehicle in front of them. Drivers should begin to slow down earlier than usual to leave a larger stopping distance.
2. Keep clear
One of the common problems that drivers face when travelling in wet weather is misted windscreen and windows. Even if you demist the windscreen before setting off, warm air inside the car can cause the glass to steam up again very quickly. A simple solution is to either use the cars air conditioner or the cold air blower to demist the windows when it is raining. This should prevent the air inside the car becoming too warm or moist.
3. Fill up with fuel
This might be a driving tip that you wouldn’t have thought of before. If you’re planning to set off for a journey in the rain, we advise you have a full tank. The combination of using wipers, lights and heaters, as well as being stuck in slow-moving traffic, can use extra fuel. Better to be safe than sorry!
4. Use your lights
As the month’s pass, you may have noticed the daylight hours have significantly reduced, and it’s getting darker earlier and earlier. This means its always a safer option to have your lights on so you can see and be seen by other motorists and pedestrians. Before you head off, ensure all your headlights, taillights, sidelights, brake lights and indicators are in good working order. Regardless of the weather, this will help to reduce collisions and help you stay safe on the roads.
If you book a car service at Rangers Garage, an independent car garage in Sailsbury, we will be able to check this for you. Learn more about our services here >>.
5. Ensure your car is ready for the weather too
A driver is nothing without their car. Even if you take all the tips above on board, but your car isn’t prepared for the weather, you could still be at high risk of an accident. You need to make sure the following is in good working order before setting out in wet weather:
- Check your tyres: To avoid slipping around in the rain, make sure you have enough tread on your tyres to handle the rain. If your tyre’s treads are low, you can be in danger of sliding or losing control of your vehicle. The RAC has a guide to checking your tyre depth here >>.
- Check your wiper blades: You don’t want to wait until it’s already raining to find out that your wiper blades aren’t working! Test your wiper blades ahead of time to make sure they’re working correctly and not streaking or worn out.
- Check your wiper fluid: This can be done when testing your wiper blades. Sometimes after it rains, the rain can leave your windscreen blurry and dirty. Wiper fluid will help to clear this when the rain finally stops! This is something that we will check when carrying out a car service, learn more here >>.
- Watch out for high water: If you care about your car, please don’t drive it through high water or big puddles! Not only can it be dangerous for the driver, but it’s terrible for the health of your vehicle. If you do find yourself stuck with no other option but to drive through, the RAC recommends you drive slow and test your brakes afterwards!
- Breakdown cover – Always ensure that you have breakdown cover to help you if you get stuck! However, while you wait to be rescued, keep the bonnet closed to avoid the electrical system getting soaked. This will help you keep safe while you wait for help.
If you want to know how to prepare your car for winter, read this article here >>.
Visit Rangers Garage, your local Independent car garage in Sailsbury
Although the weather seems pretty wet and miserable now, we hope these driving tips have been useful for preparing yourself, and your car for wet weather. If you want to make some changes to improve your vehicle, our experienced team of technicians will be more than happy to book you in for a car service.