With the rain we’ve had this week and the drop in temperature, it’s safe to say that Autumn is well and truly here.
Driving in the sun’s glare on Wednesday was challenging, but it’s driving in the rain that causes the most havoc on the roads.
Here are our top tips to stay safe:
1) Plan your journeys beforehand
If you aware of heavy rainfall in advance then it’s best that you plan your journey before you set off.
Know which route you are planning to take, and double check if it’s affected by flooding.
There are several websites you can check for traffic delays, but I find the mobile phone app ‘Waze' great for journeys. It tells you if any of your route is closed, up to date traffic updates and it will take you another clear route if your expected route is congested or blocked.
Also with the increase of smart phones and the latest updates it might be worth investing in a power pack - my battery seems to only last half a day!
2) Check your Wipers & Tyres
You should be ideally be checking your wipers every 6 months to ensure they are working optimally.
During the warmer summer months the sun can cause them to dry out just like our skin and cause them to dry out and crack.
So checking the condition of the rubber before a rainy journey is a necessity.
Also with our great British weather overuse is a common occurrence so make sure your wipers are ready for the rainy journey.
You also need to check your tyres, on a wet road if your tyre treads are worn out there is nowhere for the water to go and the ends up floating on top of water, this is aquaplaning and can be seriously dangerous with loss of steering and/or braking ability. So really in this weather, the deeper your tyres treads the better.
3) Fill up
One thing I absolutely hate and the last things everyone wants to do when driving in the rain is having to stop in the RAIN, so make sure you only have to make one pitt stop for fuel before setting off.
4) Use your lights
Once you’re driving in the rain, use your dipped headlights. Rain can significantly reduce visibility, so you need to ensure you are visible to other road users.
5) Slow down and keep your distance
Everyone seems to know this one. Wet weather brings out slippy road conditions, particularly after a dry spell, so your braking distance is reduced with higher likelihood of a skid. Slowing down gives you better control of the vehicle.
It takes twice as long to stop on wet roads than dry, so don’t forget the ‘3 second rule’
Alongside slowing down it’s always a good idea to maintain a distance, and avoid any sudden movements or sharp steering.
6) Keep your windows clear
Heavy rain coupled with high humidity can cause your windscreen to fog up inside the car. If you have air con, turn up the heat and direct towards the windscreen to keep them clear.
7) Be cautious of spray
You will notice spray of every vehicle on the road when it’s when, and we have all probably once in our lives been a pedestrian and been sprayed by a passing vehicle, I can think of a few occasions.
Just be aware of the additional spray when either over taking or having one pass you on the opposite side of the road – often road dirt sprays as well, so don’t forget to to top up your windscreen wash
8) Avoid Cruise Control
I love this feature, and it’s brilliant and nice easy stretch on the M40, but in the rain it increases the chance of losing control in wet weather.
As I was writing this I looked up out of the window and realised the rain has completely stopped and the sunshine has come out, let’s hope it stays for the weekend.