Driving in heavy wind and rain can be extremely hazardous. Breakdowns and accidents increase during periods of harsh weather because lots of drivers don’t adapt their driving style according to the weather.
Most advice tells you to avoid driving in harsh weather conditions altogether. But, if you find yourself in a position where you have to drive, there are plenty of tips that you can adopt to make sure you’re safer on the roads.
Driving in Strong Wind
It may seem like wind won’t have a large effect on your driving, particularly if you drive a small car. But, you must think about the vehicles around you too, and how this might affect your driving.
Areas that usually suffer from strong winds are wide open spaces, highway air passes and tunnels. Also, roads that are between mountains or hills can act as funnels for wind which can have a large effect on your car.
Take Note of Larger Vehicles
Tractors, trailers, caravans and lorries are all larger vehicles which can be affected more by the wind than smaller cars. Their large surface area might make them more unsteady on the roads, so stay alert if you’re driving near them.
Grip the Wheel Firmly
If you find that your vehicle does begin to move in the wind, you’ll want a firm grip on the wheel with both hands. This helps you to stay in full control of your vehicle, minimising the chance of an accident.
Anticipate the Weather
Listen to your local weather forecasts so that you’re aware where the worst of the wind is going to be. You should also avoid areas which we mentioned above, where the wind is likely to be at its worst.
Driving in Rain
Wet weather can really affect how your car performs on the road, which is why it is so important to make sure you’re being extra careful while driving. With heavy rain comes reduced stopping distances, poor visibility and less grip on the roads.
So, here are a few tips for driving in heavy rain so that you are safer on the road.
Take your time and slow down. Whether you can’t see very clearly, or the rain is getting heavier, you should always slow your vehicle right down. You should always keep a safe distance between you and the car in front, but this is all-the-more important in rainy weather conditions.
Reduced speed is also good for when visibility is poor and your reaction time is slower.
Check Your Car
Something which you can do before you even drive off is to check your vehicle. Make sure your windscreen wipers are working properly, your fluid levels are topped up and that your tyres are safe.
Your tyres are very important for driving in wet weather because their tread depth is what affects how well they can disperse water and grip the road. So, before you expect to drive in heavy rain, make sure you’re tyres are in good condition. If you find you need new tyres, a good place to start is with a set of premium tyres from a brand like Dunlop. Premium tyres like this give you better performance and are likely to be longer-lasting, coping better with tough road conditions.
Turn on Your Lights
When you’re driving in heavy rain, turning on your lights will not only help how well you can see but also how well other vehicles can see you. But, make you sure you leave your rear fog lights off. They can mask your brake lights and dazzle the drivers behind you.
Hydroplaning occurs when a layer of water builds up between your tyres and the road which results in a loss of traction and loss of grip. You can prevent hydroplaning by ensuring your tyres are inflated to the correct level and that your tread depth level is well above the legal limit. You should also keep your speed down where you can, and avoid driving through puddles of standing water.
If you do find yourself hydroplaning, don’t panic! Don’t brake or accelerate suddenly as this will only make the situation worse. Stay calm, and retain control of your vehicle.
Ventilate Your Car
When it rains, the humidity in your car increases which can cause your windows to become foggy. Your vehicle is likely to have a ventilation system which fixes this, so be sure to engage it if you need to. If you can’t, you may need to pull over if you can longer see through your windows.
Being aware of these safety tips and advice will help you to stay as safe as possible when you’re driving in tough weather conditions. Read more advice on the rest of our blog.