With the wet weather months on the way, it’s the time of year where driving can become just a little more hazardous. Rain and wind reduces visibility and decreases the amount of grip your car has on the road, so you need to be extra careful.
Wet conditions create the perfect surface for your car to go sliding dangerously across the road. To some people that might sound like a lot of fun, but if you want to try drifting, book an experience day with Into the Blue, don’t freestyle accidentally in slick conditions on the road; we guarantee you’ll enjoy learning on the track a lot more than spinning out of control. When the weather gets unpleasant you need to change your driving style appropriately to make it as safe as possible for you and those around you. Here are tips for safer driving in wet weather.
Check your wipers
One of the most often forgotten but completely vital things that you need to do when the wet weather comes around is to check over your windscreen wipers. Every wiper has a lifespan as the blade will begin to dull and not work correctly. When you get some mild rainy weather, study how well your wipers are working on the screen and if they are a leaving a damp residue, this is likely a sign that they need changing. Make sure you get this done as soon as possible so that your car is prepared for the next batch of bad weather.
Reduce your speed
A fairly obvious change that you need to make to your driving in the wet is that you should reduce your speed. When the surface you are driving on is wet it means that your car can’t grip the road as strongly as it can in the dry. The problem is compounded at high speed and it’s not surprising to learn that driving fast in the rain is one of the most dangerous things you can do on the road.
Remember that speed limits are a maximum and not a target, and that it is always advisable to drive at well below the maximum when the surface of the road is wet.
Rethink your stopping distance
Just as a wet road reduces the amount of control you have over your car on the road, it can also play havoc with stopping distances. The Highway Code states that in wet weather you should allow for a stopping distance that is at least double that which would be required on a dry road. The rule of thumb in normal conditions is that you should leave at least a two second gap between you and the car in front of you, so in the wet it is worth doubling that to a four second gap.
Learn how to deal with your car skidding
When water is on the road it makes it far more likely that your car will skid. If you have never had to deal with a skid before it can feel very unnerving – as though you are no longer in control of the car that you are driving. That’s why it is important to learn how to deal with skidding before you actually experience it. The first thing to say is that if you feel your car begin to skid you should not attempt either to accelerate your way out of it or brake. This is because your car skidding indicates your wheels are not gripping the surface properly – spinning the wheels faster or stopping them spinning will only make the problem worse.
Instead you should gently but quickly steer in the same direction as you are skidding and allow your car to slow down naturally. Once you feel the car begin to grip you can apply light pressure to the brake and then correct your course.
One of the key aspects of wet weather is the need to be more patient on the road. Driving aggressively is dangerous enough in normal conditions but in wet weather it can make you far more likely to cause a crash. Remember when you are driving in the rain that you should give road users more space and more time as it’s not just your own mistakes you need to worry about.
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