With wet weather continuing to engulf the UK and Ireland, the Institute of Advanced Motorists’ (IAM ) director of standards, Mark Lewis, looks at how drivers can best prepare for driving in heavy rain.
1. Before setting off, check for any weather alerts, traffic updates or planned road closures that may affect your journey. Only travel in extreme adverse weather conditions if it is really necessary.
2. Check lights and windscreen wiper blades are clean and working properly. Also check the tyre pressure and tread depth to ensure the best possible grip on wet surfaces.
3. Plan your route in advance and try to avoid any roads that are prone to flooding, even if it extends your journey.
4. Heavy rain often leads to damaged road surfaces and puddles can hide deep potholes – look for clues such as loose chunks of tarmac.
5. In heavy rain, don’t forget to switch on your dipped headlights so other motorists can see you easily. Reduce your speed when travelling in the rain to decrease your stopping distance. This will also help you pass through large puddles and potholes smoothly, without spraying other road users or risking aquaplaning.
6. Torrential rain may interfere with the electrics of a vehicle causing a breakdown. Prepare for the worst by keeping your mobile phone charged and with the number of your breakdown service provider already saved on it. While you wait for help keep your bonnet closed as soaking the engine will only make it worse.