Top Tips for Driving Safely in Wet & Windy Conditions
Driving in windy or rainy conditions can be a scary experience for many drivers, particularly those who may be less experienced. When driving in any kind of severe weather, whether this be wind, rain, frost or snow, our safety levels decrease dramatically as the weather requires our entire attention. There are a number of things you can do to ensure you remain as safe as possible whilst on the road in windy and rainy conditions.
Though driving in strong winds may not seem like a major risk to many drivers, a lack of awareness for everything around you can easily result in an accident in these kinds of conditions. Drivers need to be particularly aware when driving over bridges or through tunnels, as these can act as funnels for wind. We’ve put together our top tips that can help you to ensure you are kept safe when driving in strong winds.
1. Large Vehicles
Take notice of the vehicles around you, especially HGV Lorries, vans and tractors. These large, heavy vehicles are more vulnerable to being affected by strong winds and therefore may have trouble staying in the correct lanes. We’d advise staying as far back from these vehicles as is possible.
2. Hold On
Strong winds have the ability to move your vehicle, and you are more prone to this occurring if you are driving a large vehicle or if you are towing. Though this is unavoidable, by keeping a firm grip with both hands on the steering wheel, as well as 100% concentration, you will be able to keep your vehicle in the correct lane if it starts to move.
If you have to drive through areas that are prone to strong winds or gusts, for example if you need to drive over a bridge or through a tunnel, ensure you take extra special care. Anticipate the fact that gusts may come along. You can do this by looking at what is happening to other vehicles. If they become affected, it’s likely that you will too in the same area.
Driving in heavy rain can hugely affect the visibility of the road, as well as causing the car to aquaplane. Aquaplaning can happen when a car is travelling in wet conditions. When a vehicle aquaplanes instead of the tyres gripping the road surface, they lose contact and travel on the surface water on the road. Aquaplaning causes drivers to lose control as steering and braking becomes practically impossible.
We’ve put together our top tips that can help you to ensure you are kept safe when driving in heavy rain.
1. Tread Depth
Before you start your journey, take the time to check that your tyres are of the minimum legal tyre tread depth. Ideally, this should be checked regularly. The legal minimum is 1.6mm, though tyres should be replaced when this reaches 3mm, to ensure they have maximum grip on the roads. Tyre tread is designed to disperse water between the tyre and the road surface; if you haven’t got adequate tread depth then this can’t be done effectively and you are at much greater risk of aquaplaning.
2. Be Slow
You can help ensure you don’t experience hydroplaning when on the road by slowing down. The most dangerous time to drive is shortly after it has started to rain, as the road becomes slick due to the oils. Keep your distance from the vehicles in front of you, as stopping distances increase dramatically in wet, rainy conditions.
3. Regain Grip
As mentioned, aquaplaning can happen when driving in wet conditions. This happens as our tyres lose contact with the road surface and instead travel on an extremely thin layer of water. If your steering feels light all of a sudden, it could mean your car is aquaplaning. To regain control, slowly take your foot from the accelerator and allow your speed to decrease without braking, until you can feel you have full control.
It is important to remember that whether you are travelling in particularly heavy rain or strong wind conditions, the best driving decision could be to stay off the road and delay your journey until the weather has completely cleared.
Here at Eden Tyres & Servicing, we can help to ensure your car is safe to travel in all weather conditions. If you’d like to find out more information, get in touch with a member of our friendly team by visiting our contact page or by giving us a call on 0845 2997955.