It’s Spring and Summer is just around the corner. As far as the UK weather is concerned, most Britons will accept with weary resignation that it is likely to rain. In fact, at the time this was written Storm Hanna was waiting to make her presence felt upon our shores. Never mind; we are a stoic people and we carry on regardless, but driving in the rain requires some extra vigilance and car care.
So what should we be aware of when driving in wet weather? Well, it’s all about safety when the roads are slick with water and visibility is reduced. It’s amazing how much of a factor the weather can be in accident statistics, so here are our tips for staying safe.
1. Regularly Check the Car
Tyres are a driver’s only contact with the road. Those rubber hoops are what gives a car traction and this is especially important when driving on roads that are wet with rain. If the treads of tyres are badly worn, the more likely it is that the vehicle could go into a slide, possibly with disastrous consequences. Check the condition of tyres every week Summer or Winter to be on the safe side.
The same goes for the windscreen. That’s the glass in front of the steering wheel that is keeping the rain off. If it is smeary with dirt or insect strikes then visibility will be reduced. Similarly, the wipers work hard to keep vision clear and that inevitably means they become less effective over time. For best results a car’s wiper blades should be changed at very service, or even more often than that for top performance. If they squeak or smear streaks, it’s time for replacement.
2. Stay Illuminated
Just as important as seeing is being seen. Rain can make it harder for drivers to see other motorists especially if they have not paid attention to item 1 on our list. Keep headlights on in the rain but do not, unless antagonising other drivers is your thing, augment them with the rear fog lamp. The clue is in the name. Many cars, for example some of the wide variety we offer on our online forecourt, will have rain-sensing wipers. Leave these on auto for best effect.
3. Don’t Tailgate
It’s illegal anyway and something that could be rewarded by an unwelcome introduction to the boys in blue, but when the roads are wet it is especially hazardous as rain-soaked highways will increase the stopping distance of a car, regardless of tyre quality. Leave much more space than normal between vehicles to ensure safe emergency stopping.
4. Aquaplaning Is Not Fun
Aquaplaning, or hydroplaning as it is also known, occurs when a layer of water builds up between a cars’ wheels and the surface of the road. This leads to a loss of traction that prevents the vehicle from responding to driver input. If all wheels are affected simultaneously the car becomes an uncontrolled fairground ride of fear.
Large accumulations of water will do it so try, within the bounds of safety, to steer clear of standing water. If the car does aquaplane, sudden braking or heavy acceleration or dramatic steering attempts will only make it worse. Deal with it by keeping calm, lifting off the throttle and gently steering in the direction of travel.
5. Switch Off The Cruise Control
Did you know that cruise control can worsen hydroplaning? it’s true and it is also true that using that automation makes a lack of attentiveness ever worse. Save it for dry motorway cruising. Remember too that the comprehensive vehicle listings
shown for every car we sell will always highlight all the individual features of each vehicle to help inform your buying choices.