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2 June, 2012

Drive safe with driveRED

Red car driving through a lot of water

So apparently it is summer but, in true British style, the rain is blessing us with its presence and, to add to this joy, heavy winds are due over the next few days. Here at RED Driving School, we want to provide you with some top tips on how to drive in adverse weather conditions which most of you will inevitably experience at some point.  Whether you are learning to drive or have just passed your test, bad weather can be daunting to go out in if you are not used to it. Here are some tips to help you drive safely.

  • If it is raining heavily, don’t drive unless absolutely necessary. If you are already driving, see if there is somewhere to park safely off road to wait out the storm.
  • Keeping your vehicle in good condition is important at any time but especially important in bad weather conditions. Make sure your tyres have a good tread depth, are free of damage and inflated correctly. Keep your brakes in top condition.
  • High and gusting winds affect different types of vehicles more than others. High-sided vehicles, cyclists and motorcyclists can be blown off course easily, so give them more room than usual.
  • Stopping on wet roads takes much longer even with perfect brakes and tyres, so REDUCE your speed. Less space = less speed.
  • The biggest danger is not being able to see properly as you won’t be able to make the right decisions in time. Make sure you use your lights to help others see you and ensure your wipers are in good condition, both front and rear. Use your demisters to keep the inside of the windscreen and windows clear. Warm, dry air usually works best and air conditioning helps further – keep a clean cloth handy.
  • Bear in mind that when it rains for the first time after a long dry spell, the roads can be even more slippery because of the oil and rubber left on the surface so take extra care when braking and turning corners.
  • All vehicles are more likely to be affected by high winds on exposed stretches of road and in high places like bridges. Crosswinds can push your vehicle off course and into the path of others, so try to avoid well-known trouble spots and look out for overhead matrix signs on motorways warning you of this danger. If you can, find an alternative route.
  • If you drive too fast when there’s lots of surface water, you’re steering can become light as a film of water builds up between the tyres on the road surface. The only way to correct this safely is to ease off the accelerator and let the car gradually slow down.
  • When you have to pass through a flood, take your time. Stop and check how deep the water is to see if you can drive through it safely. If in doubt, don’t drive through deep water, turn back around and find a different route even if it takes longer – it’s better than being stranded. Deep water can flood the exhaust, stop the engine and also damage the electronics, causing serious damage to the vehicle.
  • If the water is shallow enough to drive through, drive slowly in first gear but keep the engine revs high and steady by slipping the clutch similar to when you do a manoeuvre.
  • Don’t try driving fast through lying surface water as you can lose control quickly, stall the engine and end up stranded. Also, there may be hidden objects under the water.
  • Once you have passed through the water, check your mirrors and test your brakes. If they aren’t working properly, drive slowly and press gently to clear the water. Don’t drive at normal speed until they are working properly.
  • Look out for other road users, especially pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists as they may not be where you expect them to be as they, too, try to avoid the rain and wind.
Car splashing water from both sides

If you think you need more lessons or would like to take a refresher driving course to get more confident behind the wheel, then contact RED Driving School on 0800 840 3999 or visit: where we would be happy to help.