Living in the UK, we understand the weather can – oftentimes – be less favourable for those less-inclined to rain. This wet weather can be especially treacherous when driving, as the water can lead to a multitude of factors that hinder safety. In light of this, we decided to put together a few key points that will help you drive safely when the weather takes a turn for the worst.
Visibility can be drastically reduced in the rain. Depending on the strength of the shower, it can be almost impossible to see as windscreen wipers cannot cope with the demand placed upon them. A few good tips are as follows:
– Clean your windscreen. A dirty windscreen will lead to reduced visibility, especially if the dirt begins to spread when using your wipers. So, keeping your windscreen clean and ensuring your screenwash is topped up is key.
– Ensure your windscreen wipers work. Naturally, windscreen wipers are a godsend when the heavens start to open – so, make sure they are in proper working order. Faulty or broken windscreen wipers are useless in the rain, so having them work is paramount.
– Make sure all the lights of your vehicle work correctly. Having properly working lights will mean other drivers can see you, that you can see the road and the markings and may help you identify particular areas to avoid on the road.
Instinctively, you should be driving slower when rain is present just because of the obvious physics at play. Here are a few reasons why watching your speed helps your drive safely in the wet:
– Wet roads reduce traction by one-third. A car has little contact with the ground as it is, with the surface area of a tyre that is actually touching the road being less than you might expect, so having other substances covering this make it slippery for tyres.
– Even slight rain can cause a drastic change in the behaviour of the road surface. Light rain will integrate with the dirt and oil on the road, causing a slippery film to form because the water is not substantial enough to wash it away.
– Hydroplaning, being the act of the water causing the car to lose contact with the road, makes it very difficult to control your vehicle. Preventing this from happening is done by taking care and reducing speed, especially in areas of puddling.
These general precautions should offer some insight into how to improve your awareness of the dangers of driving in the rain and help you drive safely:
– Keep a 5-second gap between you and the person in front. This extra space will allow for more space to slow down as the rain is known to adversely affect braking performance.
– Speaking of braking, do not slam on your brakes. Applying force more gradually will allow you to prevent sliding and aggressive braking can lead to water infiltrating to the brakes themselves.
– Check your tyres are in good condition. By using damaged tyres in the rain, you are subject to the dangers of both, which increases the risk further. Therefore, you should inspect your tyres for bulges, tread depth and general condition.
– Focus. You should already attend your full attention to the road when driving, but it is paramount to remember to do so when it is raining. Withholding from listening to loud music, having conversations and performing tasks that can be done while you aren’t driving is the best way to go about this.
In conclusion, although we need to drive when it is raining, we need to take extra care if we are to drive safely. Safety is imperative in terms of driving, so taking the aforementioned advice on board should help you improve your standing when driving in wet weather. Moreover, common sense is to be applied, and – should you feel especially uncomfortable or out of control – it is perfectly acceptable to pull over at a safe, convenient place.