Tips To Avoid Problems During The Autumn Wet Weather Months

As we all know, Summer is over and the weather in the coming weeks and months are guaranteed to be grey, gloomy, damp and wet.

October has brought with it prolonged rainfall and occasionally heavy downpour therefore we are reminding motorists on the importance of road safety.

Here are a list of tips to keep drivers safe.

Heavy rain
Visibility can be affected during heavy downpour so motorists need to reduce speed. Rule 126 of the Highway Code states that the braking distance between vehicles should be two seconds when driving on a dry road, and at least four seconds in the wet.

Windscreen should be clean, wipers effective and the jets positioned correctly and aimed at the screen.

It is necessary to clean the windscreen, make adjustments and remove anything from the main area before journeys.

In bad weather conditions, it is advisable to turn on headlights. Automatic light settings will not always activate in bad weather.

Aquaplaning
There is always a risk of aquaplaning during the wet season due to water standing in puddles on road surfaces.

Aquaplaning is where a wedge of water forms in front of the tyre and lifts it up off the road surface. This is caused by the tread not being able to displace the amount of water present.

To recover from aquaplaning, ease gently off your accelerator, have a firm grip of the steering wheel and be sure not to make any sudden steering actions. The car will eventually regain its grip as the water clears.

Floods
Drivers should avoid flooded routes, but if there is no alternative road, then they need to identify how deep the flood is.

If the standing water is more than six inches deep, avoid driving through it. If it is a familiar road, then drivers can judge the flood in relation to the kerb.

If it is a burst water main, the standing water may look like a normal flood but the road surface beneath the water may be completely broken up. If unsure how the flood has formed, then avoid it altogether.

Are there other vehicles similar to yours that are safely driving through? From this, make a judgement call as to whether it is safe to travel through or not.

If the water is fast flowing, do not attempt to drive through it, as there is a real danger of your car being swept off the road.

If you have taken everything into consideration and decide to drive through the flood, be sure to do so slowly.

The best approach is to press lightly on your clutch and add gentle pressure on your accelerator to increase your engine revs. Do so without increasing your speed, in a similar way to how you would undertake a hill start.

This will prevent water from entering the exhaust pipe. With automatic cars, accelerate slightly but control the speed with the brakes. When the vehicle is out of the flooded area, test the brakes to make sure they are dry and working properly.

If in doubt, do not drive through the flood. Often modern saloon cars have the air intake in the wheel arch, which may be below the water level. If the engine should take in water, it will immediately hydro lock and the engine will stop.

Remember to stay alert and avoid splashing pedestrians. If this is done accidentally, you could receive a fixed penalty and three points on your license.

The fixed penalty is for driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other road users. If deliberately done, it could be a public order offence, a court appearance and a fine.

Keeping vehicles maintained and the tyres and wipers in good condition will help motorists stay safe. As we witnessed in the past few days, standing water and floods are becoming more commonplace, so extra care is needed.