Tips to driving safely in the storms

Tips to driving safely in the storms

Road safety charity the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) is offering tips on how to keep safe in the storms.

In cases of flooding :

  • Drive on the highest section of the road and don’t set off if a vehicle is approaching you
  • Leave time and space to avoid swamping other cars and pedestrians
  • Drive slowly and keep going once you have started – make sure you have a clear run. In a manual car, keep the revs high by “slipping the clutch”
  • If you can’t see where you are going to come out of the water, such as when approaching flooding on a bend, think twice about starting to drive into it
  • In deep water never take your foot off the accelerator, as this could allow water to travel up the exhaust pipe
  • Once you’re out of the water, dry the brakes before you need them. The best way is to lightly apply the brake as you drive along for a few seconds, after checking nothing is following you too closely.

In the wind :

  • Strong winds can also unsettle your car and even change your direction of travel. Grip your steering wheel firmly and also be ready for the effects of the wind on other road users.
  • Plan your journey – choose a sheltered route if you have the option.
  • Overtaking high sided vehicles or driving past buildings can result in a sudden gust from the side as you clear.
  • Give cyclists, motorcyclists, lorries and buses more room than usual.
  • Watch trees and bushes on the roadside – their branches can show you how strong the wind is.
  • Go slow enough to cope with the gusts.  Wind can get under a car and reduce its handling and braking significantly.
  • Keep an eye on what is happening to other vehicles – where they are affected will give you a pre warning.
  • Go slowly enough to cope with the tree that has fallen right across the road, just round the bend where you can’t see it.
  • Be careful of debris, try and have space beside you in case you need to dodge it.

In the rain :

  • Before you set off, set your heater controls – rain can makes the windows mist up in seconds.
  • See and be seen. Put your lights on – as a rule of thumb, whenever you need to use your wipers you should also turn your dipped headlights on, and before overtaking put your wipers on their fastest setting.
  • Keep your eyes on the road ahead and plan your driving so that you can brake, accelerate and steer smoothly.
  • Slow down. In the rain stopping distance is at least doubled. Giving yourself more space also helps to avoid spray, especially when following a large vehicle.
  • If you have cruise control, avoid using it on wet roads – you need to pay more attention to the road surface conditions and alter your speed gently.

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