Saturday, 15 February 2014

10 Tips for Driving Safely in Storms

The UK weather seems to be getting more unpredictable every day. This means every driver should know about bad weather driving skills. This could save you from a serious accident and injury. Let’s look at the best stormy weather driving advice including what to do with lighting and hailstorms.

1: Stick to the Beaten Path

When road conditions get nasty, stay on the main roads. Here there is less chance of flooding. Also, when on the motorway, stay in the tracks of the vehicle in front of you as they clear water off the road. But don’t get too close. You may remember from taking your theory driving test that the stopping distance in wet weather is much longer.

2: Test Your Brakes

After you drive through a section of water, test your brakes. This also wipes water off of the brake discs to improve stopping power. Again, do this gently as sudden stopping can cause a slide.

3: If It Looks Like a Lake or a River

There are some areas of the UK which are more susceptible to flooding than others. If you approach an area that looks like deep water, stop and turn around. This is especially true for underpasses where the water can be quite deep. Not only is it dangerous, but if water gets into your exhaust system it could cause the car to stall. Water in the engine requires very expensive servicing to get the engine running again. Now, you can try to drive through slowly, but if you notice water approaching the level of your car door, stop and go back.
If water is running and you can’t see the road surface underneath, do not attempt to cross. Your car can actually be swept away by quickly running water.

4: Aquaplaning

This can be a terrifying experience as your car spins out of control. The best advice is to avoid this situation by driving slowly, taking curves cautiously and braking gradually. If your car starts to slide, take your foot off the gas right away. Try to feather the brakes if you need them, but if you start to slide apply firm pressure if you have ABS system. If your car does not have ABS, release and reapply (or “pump”) the brakes until you regain control.

5: See and Be Seen

When it starts to pour, your vision will be limited. Dull windshield wiper blades will make things worse, so make sure you change these when they get worn down.
Also, inspect all your lights: headlights, high beams, parking, turning and braking. Other drivers can see you better if your lights work well. Also, put on your lights during a storm even if it is daytime. At night, avoid using the high beams since the reflection from the rain actually makes visibility worse.

6: Stop

If the rain falls so heavily that you cannot see other cars or the side of the road, it is time to pull over. Put on your hazard lights and slowly make your way to the side of the road. Get as clear from the road as possible without running the risk of getting stuck. Leave the hazard lights on while you wait out the storm.

7: Keep Tyres Prepared

If you are caught in a storm and your tyres are bald, then it is too late to deal with a slick road surface. So keep your tyres in good shape so that they have maximum traction. You can do this best by:
* Replacing tires when tread is less than 4/32 of an inch deep.
* Keeping tire pressure adjusted properly.
* Rotating tires every 5,000 – 10,000 miles.
There’s also a minimum tread that tyres should legally have: 1.6 mm in a continuous band around the central three quarters of the tyre.

8: Fogged Windows

If condensation builds up on the inside of your windows, slow down first. Then crank up the defroster fan with the temperature setting on hot. If your car has air conditioning, then turn that on too, but maintain the temperature on the hot setting. A car dehumidifier will help to remove the damp air and stop your belongings from being damaged. Eventually the fog will dissipate.

9: Lighting Driving Safety

If you get caught in severe lighting stay in your car or get inside of a building. If you can, pull over and do not touch any metal parts of your car as you could receive a jolt of electricity. Don’t rest your hands on the steering wheel, don’t lean on the door, and don’t play with the radio either.

10: Hailstorms

It is smart to stay in your vehicle if the hailstones are small. It is even better if you can find shelter in a building. However, if you are out in the open and large hail starts to fall, you should stop and position yourself as best you can in the centre of your car. Large hail can break all the car’s windows and lead to serious injury. If the hail is very severe, you might even consider crawling under your car.

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