Caught driving in bad weather? Keep these helpful tips in mind
On the count of three, give me your best Ned Stark impression. Yes, it’s that time of year again when the nights draw in, the wind begins to bite, and the rain comes down like a ton of bricks – when the devastating hail isn’t destroying your plant pots and the melting grey snow isn’t making everything look like a binned Christmas card, that is. So, to help drivers through the coming winter, we’ve put together some useful driving tips.
Driving in rain and high waters
First and foremost, bad weather makes the road conditions much less safe to drive on. Heavy rains can lead to flooding and, according to the AA, you shouldn’t drive through moving or standing water that is higher than four inches. If you absolutely must drive through high waters, be sure to do so slowly to prevent water getting into your engine as it can seriously damage your pistons.
Ensure your windscreen wipers are working properly, as these will help you see better and, as per the Highway Code, you should always use your headlights when visibility is reduced to less than 100 metres. Even if the road isn’t flooded, you should drive slowly in heavy rain to help prevent aquaplaning.
How should you drive in fog?
But it’s not just the apocalyptic rains that make winter driving a nightmare for motorists. Thick mists can be beautiful if you’re walking in the countryside, but the pea-soup fogs they create are much riskier for motorists. Unfortunately in fog, there is little you can do to significantly improve your visibility, save use your front and rear foglights to help other motorists see you. Be sure to drive slowly to help lower the risk of accidents.
Do not, however, use your high-beam headlights if the fog is very thick: their light will reflect off the fog and make it even harder for you to see.
Driving in the snow
Perhaps one of the biggest problem facing British motorists in the winter, however, is driving in snow. Everyone loves watching it fall and the picturesque scenes it creates. But on the roads, it’s a big problem. In the past, it has caused serious problems for the British economy, simply due to people being stuck in traffic jams and not being able to get to work.
There are ways to prevent problems when the snow starts to fall. Here’s what you can do:
- Firstly, make sure the journey in the car is absolutely necessary – if you can avoid driving on snow, do so
- A good checklist of equipment to stock up on should include a good shovel, an ice-scraper, a demisting pad, spare screen wash, plenty of de-icer, a phone charger, a map, and a big square of carpet for your tyres to grip on to should you get stuck in the snow
- Your tyres should also be fully inflated, and should meet the minimum legal tread-depth requirements. If you live in an area that is prone to serious snowfall, purchasing specialised winter tyres, or ‘snow tyres’, is a good idea
- While driving, the Highway Code advises driving slowly in as high a gear as possible, and braking and accelerating gently
Above all, the best advice is always to drive carefully. If your journey isn’t necessary, you may be better off walking.
Looking for ways to weather-proof your car? Follow our helpful tips.