Autumn has rolled round and you know what that means for us brits? Rain, and lots of it. Be prepared for hazards and increase your chances of staying safe when driving in heavy rain by following the tips below.
1. Delay your journey, drive only if it is an absolute necessity. Plan in advance, and be careful to avoid areas that are prone to flooding. Allow extra time for the journey, as there may be traffic congestion.
2. Adapt your driving to suit the weather conditions. Adhere to stopping distances in poor weather. Avoid sudden moves such as reckless steering or sudden braking that may unbalance the car and lead to skidding.
3. Only attempt to navigate flood water if you are certain of its depth, and keep to a slow, steady speed to avoid creating waves.
4. Keep a safe distance from the vehicle immediately ahead of you, remember the two second rule. Be aware of the actions of drivers around you, especially in heavy rain.
5. Try to avoid driving through water that is fast flowing as, even in a good sturdy van, you may easily get swept away and serious damage may be caused to the vehicle.
6. If you do drive through flood water, keep to the highest part of the road. If possible, observe other vehicles to judge the depth of the water. Flooding the engine may cause it to stall, and deep water may actually float the vehicle off the road.
7. If you find yourself aquaplaning, (tyres gliding along on the surface of the water, instead of the road surface), do not brake sharply but gently ease off the accelerator to avoid skidding and let the van slow, while you steer in the direction you’re headed. The tyres will eventually regain contact with the road surface.
8. Do not try to restart the engine if it cuts out after driving through flood water, as the engine may be damaged. It is better to call for assistance and have the vehicle professionally checked. Remember to also have the brakes tested to ensure they are in good working order.
9. Remember to take emergency supplies on your journey as you may be delayed. A flashlight, blankets, snacks and hot drinks are essential.