Drivers warned to take care in winds and floods

Drivers warned to take care in winds and floods 13th February 2014

Since the turn of the year the UK has been battered by high winds and torrential rainfall which have led to extensive flooding in the south and severe weather warning beings issued in the north-east, north-west and Yorkshire regions.

The Met Office said a wind gust of 112mph was recorded at Great Dun Fell, in the Pennines, while a rare "red warning" for wind was issued.

For both pedestrians and motorists these conditions pose a whole host of dangers and concerns and the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has published helpful hints and tips for drivers who need to venture out in the blustery and wet weather.

Peter Rodger, the chief examiner at the organisation, said that a very wet road surface increases the chances of slipping when braking or steering, which is a serious problem for all road users.

“When driving in wet conditions remember that stopping distances will increase, and visibility will be reduced. Drop your speed and give yourself more time to slow down," he explained.

The organisation also provided tips on what to do if confronted by difficult road conditions.

Flooded roads

When confronted with a flooded section of road it is important to adhere to road etiquette and only proceed when the flooded area is clear of other motorists. It is also advisable to drive on the highest section of the road to avoid the deepest water.

If drivers do start to drive through the flooded section, it is vital to drive slowly and keep a steady pace once beginning to make progress through the area.

In a manual car, the IAM advises keeping the revs high by "slipping the clutch" (which means the clutch is not fully engaged) all the time you are in the water.

The organisation also advised caution where possible and if it's not possible to see the end of the flooded section ahead, then it may be worth considering turning round and trying another route if at all possible.

After clearing a section of flooded road it is important to dry the brakes before they are needed again. The best way to do this is to lightly apply the brake, after checking nothing is following you too closely.

Dealing with blustery conditions

Strong winds have hit much of the UK, causing issues for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists alike, with motorists required to keep their concentration up while behind the wheel. It is also important to keep a tight grip on the steering wheel, so drivers are prepared to react to the effects of the wind

Planning a journey ahead of time is also crucial. If there is a route with reduced exposure to the weather and the potential of coming across fallen trees then this should be taken, reducing the risk of driving in windy conditions.

Concentration is key in difficult conditions and it is important to keep an eye on other vehicles, as this will give you a pre-warning of particularly gutsy sections of road. Maintaining a slower speed than normal, particularly on roads with blind bends is advisable, as fallen trees can surprise drivers.

Posted by Danielle Barge