Driving in heavy rain: Top tips for staying safe this autumn

Driving in heavy rain: Top tips for staying safe this autumn 15th September 2015

We've enjoyed something of a fantastic summer in the UK this year, with warm temperatures and sunshine giving us all a chance to get out and enjoy the weather more than we might expect in a typical year. However, the arrival of September has brought with it a somewhat abrupt end to this better weather. 

Heavy rain and colder conditions have characterised September so far for much of the UK, and with flood alerts in place for much of the UK this week, it doesn't look like we're going to see an end to the soggy weather any time soon. 

This can cause something of a problem for motorists across the UK, especially after they have enjoyed excellent driving conditions throughout the summer. So as the weather starts to worsen, we look at the best ways to stay safe on the roads when the rain starts to fall. 

Check your car

Slick roads and hampered visibility are two of the main problems that rainfall can cause on UK roads, and the number one way to stay safe in such conditions is to make sure your car is up to the job of handling the roads. 

To handle the wet and sometimes slippery conditions, you need to make sure that your tyres are in good condition. A lack of tread will leave you susceptible to losing grip when the road is wet, so make sure to check and have new tyres fitted if you are at all concerned. 

Likewise, deterioration of the rubber on your wiper blades can be a real problem in heavy rain. If your window wipers are not properly clearing water off your windscreen, it can be very hard to see in heavy rain, making for very hazardous conditions. Always check these and have them changed if they are not performing as they should.

Plan your journey

As well as making sure the car is ready for the task at hand, it can be a very good idea to assess whether a journey is essential in heavy rain. If it is, do you know where you are going and the best way to get there?

In periods of heavy rain, certain roads, particularly in the countryside, are susceptible to flooding and surface water. Before you set off, always ask yourself if you can avoid these roads by taking a different route. If you can, it's always a good idea to give yourself a safer journey. 

Keep your distance

The number one rule when you are driving in the rain – always leave more distance between yourself and the car in front. For one, they may always brake suddenly if they encounter a problem, and you don't want to end up having an accident by not leaving enough time to stop. 

Braking distances are greatly increased in the rain, particularly when there is surface water on the road, and you should always leave enough space so that you are confident you can stop if you need to. 

Take precautions

Of course, stopping distances are not the only way to make sure you stay safe on the road in the rain. There are other precautions that you should be aware of to make sure that your journey is as safe as possible. 

These include making sure you have dipped headlights on when the rain gets bad. It allows other cars to see where you are and greatly lowers the risk of accidents happening. Aside from this, you should also make sure never to drive through standing water if you don't know how deep it is, and always ensure that you test your brakes as soon as possible after you have driven through water. 

Posted by Danielle Barge