When you live in the UK, it’s inevitable that you’re going to, at some point, come across heavy rain or drizzle that can massively hinder your driving conditions on the road.
Rain can be a nuisance and you may find that it means you reach for your car keys more often than other times, getting from A to B in your car is most definitely favourable over walking in bad weather.
However, driving in the rain can pose a few threats and you must be prepared, especially as a new driver, to implement all the skills you have learned whilst taking lessons with your driving instructor.
So here are six things to help you whilst you’re driving in the rain.
- Check your car over before travelling – the most important thing to do when driving in rain, is that your car is prepared for the rain. Watery roads can mean slipping and ultimately crashing, so it’s important to check your tyres. Keep an eye on your tyre treads, they need to be at the right level and at a good enough level to ensure you don’t skid when braking in the rain, especially if you are motorway driving. The legal tyre depth is 1.6mm but it is important to have at least 3mm for good safety.
- Know your car’s limits – when you are driving in bad conditions, it can take you longer to stop and stopping distances are extended. It may take 12 metres when braking at 20mph on a normal dry day, but if the rain is torrential, this will take double time, so remember to keep at least 200m in between you and the car in front to ensure you are not going to run into the back of the car in front if you have to brake unexpectedly. Your driving instructor will run through this with you if the situation comes ip, but it’s also good to ask too! Most likely he or she will explain the two second rule!
- Watch out for the puddles! You have probably seen it on television, a car speeds past a huge puddle of water and soaks the pedestrian walking by. This is not just dangerous for the pedestrian but also to the driver, especially if you are driving at 30mph and over. Hitting standing water at a high speed can cause you to drift and lose control very quickly so look out for these on the road and if possible, only if the road is clear and it’s legal to do so, drive around and avoid them.
- Turn on your lights – using your headlights in bad weather is very important. Usually poor weather conditions limit what we can see. Rain especially stops us from seeing cars in front and our judgement of how far away they are. Keeping your lights on low will warn drivers that you are coming. Driving slowly will also be a necessity, take extra time, which will mean adding time onto your journey, so prepare and make sure you can time manage.
- Use and maintain your windscreen wipers. It goes without saying that you will need to keep your windscreen wipers on slow or fast but keeping them clean after every journey in the rain could help save your life. Often after rainfall or sleet, crud and debris can clog up the wipers and dirty your windscreen. This can ultimately obscure your view. Keep an eye on your washer levels and keep your windscreen clean. If you are ever pulled over by the police and you have grit on your screen, you may be in store for a hefty fine of upto £5000 and nine points on your license – it is definitely not worth taking the risk!
- Ventilate your car. When the weather is rainy, you will find condensation builds up very easily in your car. This can lead to being unable to see at all through your windows. Make sure you have your ventilation switched on before you start driving so you’re not scrambling to clear the windows as you drive. If you forget to turn you ventilation on it may be safer to pull over somewhere to clear your windows manually and turn the system on.
So there you have it, six tips to make sure you’re safe and road- ready over the next few winter months. A lot of it relies on common sense and remembering what your driving instructor taught you in those first initial months. So be vigilant, be aware, and safe driving!