Whilst you may want to curl up on the sofa and refuse to leave the house in winter, unfortunately, life continues and we will probably find that we need to tackle the adverse weather conditions. However, it is a good idea to not drive unless you absolutely have to!
The lovely winter months mean we deal with everything from snow and ice to driving in the dark – things that many new drivers may not yet have dealt with. To help, we’ve pulled together our top tips on winter driving! Here, we’re discussing driving in heavy rain and wind.
How to drive in heavy rain
As well as the likelihood of not having the best visibility, you also need to make sure you’re able to protect yourselves against aquaplaning. Aquaplaning or hydroplaning can occur when you’re travelling too fast in heavy rain conditions. This can cause your tyres to travel on a thin layer of water on the road and not the surface of the road. Unfortunately, this can lead to you losing control of your car. Now don’t worry – we’ve got steps for you to follow on how to deal with aquaplaning and hopefully how you can avoid it all together.
- The speed limit isn’t the suggested speed. This is crucial to remember! Just because you’re driving in a 40mph zone, doesn’t mean you have to be driving at 40mph. Drive slower and keep your distance from other vehicles. Slow and sensible driving will help you avoid aquaplaning.
- Turn your lights on. You need to make sure other vehicles can see you, and heavy rain can really obscure your view. If in doubt, put your dipped headlights on.
- Don’t use cruise control in the rain. You need to keep at a low speed and have ample time to react to your surroundings, so it’s best to avoid using cruise control in adverse weather conditions.
What do you do when you start to aquaplane?
If this happens, the first thing to remember is not to panic. We know you want to get out of the situation, but you need to remain as calm and possible and in control.
- Take your foot off the accelerator. Also, avoid using your brake, as this will cause your car to skid completely out of control.
- Gently turn the wheel. Sounds strange, but if you do lose control and the back of your car shoots in one direction, you need to gently steer the same way. This will realign your tyres and help you regain control of the direction you’re travelling.
- Wait until the wheels are back on the ground. You’ll get a feeling when the car is back on the road, which is when it is safe to continue driving.
- Take a moment. You’ll likely be shaken up from the ordeal. Consider pulling over and taking a few moments to calm down before carrying on.
Driving in high winds
You probably wouldn’t realise, but driving in heavy wind is just as dangerous as driving in rain, snow and ice. All crazy weather conditions come with their own risks to drivers, and the wind is no exception. Strong winds can occur anywhere but will take more of a toll on you when you’re driving in an open space (such as wide roads). Follow these tips to help you keep in control when it’s more than breezy outside.
- Anticipate gusts of wind. You should take extra care when you drive through areas that are prone to strong winds (the sign helps with that)!
- Lorries are not your friend. When it comes to windy days, you should be very cautious of large vehicles such as lorries, tractor-trailers and other RVs. The wind combined with tall vehicles means they’ll likely have trouble staying in their own lane – so best to avoid overtaking them.
- Keep two hands on the wheel. We’re sure you do anyway, but if the wind begins the move your car (which is likely in the winter months), you’ll need to have full control over the car and the direction you’re heading.
We can give you all the tips in the world, but the main thing to remember is that if you don’t need to drive, don’t. It'll be much easier to avoid an accident if you’re at home under a blanket with a cuppa!