Last week, just as I drove out of the car park to head home from work, the mother of all rain storms kicked in. After the summer we've had I should have been completely comfortable behind the wheel (hot, dry roads are but a dim and distant memory) but despite the light evening, visibility was so poor I was actually quite nervous, especially as most drivers were still travelling at high speeds.I don't think it takes a psychic to predict that we could be in for a lot more of the same sort of downpours in the coming months (and the dangers will increase as the evenings draw in), so here's a quick selection of top 10 tips for staying safe in wet weather conditions:
Allow more time for travel - sounds obvious but you and everyone else on the road should be driving slower, so don't be tempted to use a speed that isn't right for the conditions
Break earlier and with much less force to avoid skidding
Tap your break peddle lightly to dry off the water on your rotors after crossing a puddle
Keep your windows clean. Clean windows are less likely to mist over
Turn on your headlights to maximise your own visibility, even in daylight
Keep spray to a minimum by keeping a good distance between you and the vehicle you're following. If you see a heavy vehicle approaching, switch your wipers to fast in preparation
If you aquaplane (when tyres surf pooled water on the road) gently release the accelerator to regain traction. Never brake and avoid trying to steer or you might lose control of the car
If you drive through a pool of water, go slowly to avoid water rising up into the engine. Use first gear and keep the revs high by slipping the clutch. This will reduced the chances of water entering the exhaust.
If it's raining so hard that you can't see the road or the car in front of you then slow down as much as possible and try your fog lights or, if it's safe to do so and you are not on a motorway, pull over and wait for the storm to pass.
Watch out for pedestrians. The chances are they will be distracted as they try to stay dry or get across the road to shelter. They might not be as observant as usual.
Do let me know if I've missed any important advice that should be included!