The weather in the UK tends to be wet and wild for the majority of the year. Did you know the majority of the accidents on UK roads are due to bad weather? That’s why it’s really important that you know how to drive in the rain safely. Refused Car Finance have compiled a list of the best ways to keep yourself and other drivers safe whilst on the road in the wet weather!
This is probably the most obvious, but it is really crucial when driving in the rain. The wet weather affects a whole load of things such as stopping time and visibility, which are both key to keeping safe. You should always adhere to the speed limits, but this is more important when the weather takes a turn for the worse. You should consider driving slower than the speed limit as you wouldn’t be able to stop as fast as you would if you were driving at the usual speed. Driving at a slower speed means you have more time to anticipate the traffic ahead and can react to situations quicker.
The lights on your car are there to keep you and other drivers safe on the road. Before the winter months or expected rainfall, you should check that all your lights are in working order. This includes headlights, brake lights and indicators which are all essential in keeping you safe. In the rain and dark weather, your visibility is reduced and having lights that don’t work or aren’t as bright as they should be can seriously put you at risk of an accident. Maintaining all your lights can increase visibility and also other drives ability to see you on the road.
As mentioned, your stopping time is increased when it’s wet. In heavy downpour, your stopping and breaking distance can be twice as long. It is recommended that you allow at least double the separation distance between you and the car in front. A general rule of thumb is that you leave around 4 seconds behind the car in front of you.
Your brakes can be seriously affected by the wet weather. If you find yourself skidding on the road, you will instinctively want to press your brakes hard but in some situations, this can make it worse. When the road is wet, your brakes can lose their power and impact which can put yourself and other drivers in danger.
Hydroplaning (or aquaplaning) occurs when you drive through a large amount of water on the road. Hydroplaning is when water builds between the wheels of the vehicle and the surface of the road, this leads to loss of traction, steering, braking and power control. It can be extremely dangerous. Your natural instinct is to brake but harsh braking or acceleration can make it worse. You should try and gently steer towards a clear open space until your car comes to a stop.
During heavy downpour, there are usually many large puddles on the road. As a driver, you can never be sure of how deep a puddle is and driving through large puddles can be harmful to your car. If you can avoid a puddle safely, you should do so. However, if it is not safe to go around it, you should slow down and pass through it smoothly. If you are slowing down, make sure you do it safely and with good time, so you don’t cause any accidents with the car behind you.
Cruise control is a great feature to have but you should never use it when you are driving in the rain. This is because cruise control can actually cause you to lose control – ironic! If you start to hydroplane, cruise control can make the situation worse as your car is trying to stay at the same speed and can be extremely dangerous. Usually braking will disable cruise control but if you have anti-lock brakes, using your brake can make skidding worse.
As mentioned, the wet weather can reduce your visibility. You should keep an eye out for pedestrians and cyclist and take extra care when you are near crossings. Pedestrians may be in more of a rush to get out of the rain so they might not be taking as much notice as they should. If you splash a pedestrian, you could also face a fine of anything from £100 to £5,000. Under section three of the Road Traffic Act 1988, it is illegal to splash someone as it amounts to driving “without reasonable consideration for other persons.”
Driving in the rain can be dangerous and can cause many accidents. Just like when snow is heavy in the UK, it is advised that you only drive it if it completely necessary. Driving in the rain can be just as dangerous as driving on roads which are covered in snow or ice.
About the author: Refused Car Finance are a finance provider based in the North East England. They specialise in bad credit car finance and help people every day. They also provide many thought leadership pieces across the web on all things motoring, finance and business related.