Are you ready for summer flash floods?
In planning for heavy downpours of rain following the mini heat waves, police forces across the country are warning drivers to prepare in advance and steer clear of certain roads that are susceptible to flooding. Smart phones, sat navs and in car technology means we have the most up to date information to plan around adverse weather forecasts. One of these data centres is a, standard weather app integrated into most Smartphones…
BUT the climate is so fickle at the moment that we cannot always predict for certain what weather we are going to be driving in. The Environment Agency has already put out 32 flood alerts in the UK this summer and surface water flooding has caused much localised travel disruption.
If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail…
- Slow down as it takes longer for you to stop in the wet weather and if possible avoid using your brakes altogether as they can cause you to aquaplane across the water. Take your foot off the accelerator earlier than usual to gradually slow down. You will be able to tell if your steering is unresponsive which means that the water is preventing your tyres from gripping the road.
- As far as you can try and keep to middle and overtaking lanes of motorways and dual-carriageways as water is naturally drawn to the hard shoulder/inside lane because of the way the roads are built.
- The stopping distance in these conditions needs to be vastly increased. The official following distance is a 3 second rule (or 2 car rule) – make sure you increase this to at least 5 seconds (or 4 cars). It’s better to be safe than sorry!
- Turn on your lights when your visibility is limited, whether it is a heavy storm, light rain, fog, or even overcast conditions. It’s not just about what you can see, but about others being able to see you!
- It may seem like an obvious one – but as we have been lapping up the sun lately, it is likely that many people haven’t recently checked whether their windscreen wipers are up to scratch. With the warnings now in place, it is important that you replace old or brittle wiper blades to make sure you have good visibility in heavy rain swept weather.
- NEVER drive through water if you can’t see the ground at the bottom of it. And IF driving through large puddles of uncertain depth then GO SLOW. If you go fast it can cause expensive damage as the air intake on many cars is low down at the front, therefore water can become sucked into the engine and cause driveability problems and you might need to take your car to an independent garage to get it checked out! As you go slowly make sure you use a low gear and higher revs to make sure you don’t cut out or damage the catalytic convertor. Once you come out of the flooded area it is important that you test your brakes as they will be saturated with water.
- Avoid following large vehicles! The splash and spray from lorries and vans can obscure your vision on the road, so keep a wide distance from them and make sure your windscreen wipers are constantly active.
- Pull over if it gets too bad. No matter how much you need to get somewhere, being late yet ALIVE is always the more sensible option. Heavy rain can put strain on your wiper blades, and cause a sheet of water to flow over your screen restricting your vision. Find a safe spot to pull over and wait for the worst part of the storm to stop, which shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.
Did you know…?
Your car will float in just two feet of standing water
If you want your vehicle wet weather proofing, you can get a ‘Trust My Garage’ member to carry out a service where they will check all the essential parts of your car to drive you through these weather warnings safely. OR in the unfortunate event of the rain damaging your car in some way, they will provide you with a loyal and affordable repair service. CLICK HERE to find your nearest one.
Posted on August 5, 2013, in car maintenance, Car tips, winter driving and tagged aquaplaning, Driving, driving in floods, driving in the rain, Flood, holiday driving, local independent garage, Met Office, Rain, Smartphones, Weather, wet roads, wet weather driving. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.