19 Jan 2021

How to Drive Safely in Heavy Rain

Storm Christoph is currently sweeping across the UK, with heavy rain forecast over the coming days.

Over the course of today (Tuesday) and Wednesday, nearly three inches of rain is set to fall in the worst-hit areas, with melting snow from higher ground adding to the potential for flooding on roads.

With limited visibility during downpours and large areas of standing water causing problems, these weather conditions make driving incredibly difficult.

An amber weather warning is in place for England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Southern Scotland. So how can you stay safe while driving in these extreme conditions?

What changes when driving in heavy rain?

When heavy and persistent rain falls, it leads to wet tarmac and the potential for standing water, both of which can affect your grip. While this may increase the likelihood of a loss of control, so too does the impact of rain on visibility. A natural loss of visibility is caused as rain hits the windscreen, however, spray from other vehicles, as they whip up standing water on the road, can cause big reductions in visibility.

What should you do before setting off?

It is important, in particularly wet weather, to decide if the journey is essential. If you feel it is, then check local bulletins for problems on the roads you will be using. This will help you to avoid flooded areas which may have caught a number of drivers out and left large queues of traffic potentially stuck.

How should you adapt your driving style?

Driving in wet weather presents unique challenges which will result in a change in driving behaviours. Here are some tips, courtesy of the RAC, to help you manage the changing conditions during Storm Christophe:

  • Slow down and leave larger gaps – It is important to cater for larger stopping distances, caused by a lessening of grip on the road. By slowing down you give yourself more time to react, and by leaving larger gaps the same effect occurs when you are reacting to traffic.
  • Don’t use rear fog lights – They can dazzle the drivers behind and hide your brake lights which are essential, particularly in difficult conditions presented by heavy rain.
  • Don’t speed through standing water – Let your speed reduce naturally if you feel your steering change. This will allow the car to regain the necessary grip and help you to recover control of the situation.

This is just a handful of many useful pieces of advice. Click here to read more.

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