HOW TO PRE­PARE FOR DRIV­ING IN HEAVY RAIN

Campbeltown Courier - - WINTER MOTORING -

Firstly, it is al­ways ad­vis­able to con­sider be­fore you set off whether your jour­ney is es­sen­tial. If not, can it be de­layed un­til af­ter the rain has sub­sided? If so then plan your jour­ney in ad­vance, tak­ing care to avoid ar­eas which are prone to flood­ing, and fac­tor in ex­tra time to al­low for slower speeds and po­ten­tial con­ges­tion. It is also a good idea to let rel­a­tives and friends know your in­tended route and ex­pected time of ar­rival and, where pos­si­ble, travel with oth­ers. How to drive in heavy rain.

Firstly, slow down. Re­duce your speed and leave more space be­tween you and the ve­hi­cle in front as stop­ping dis­tances in rain are in­creased. Use dipped head­lights so that other drivers can see you more eas­ily. Don’t use rear fog lights. They can mask your brake lights and daz­zle drivers be­hind you. Look out for large or fast-mov­ing ve­hi­cles cre­at­ing spray which re­duces vis­i­bil­ity. Keep your air con­di­tion­ing on as this will stop your win­dows from mist­ing up. You can read our full ad­vice page on how to demist your wind­screen in dou­ble-quick time. Lis­ten out for lo­cal news bul­letins to keep up-to-date with road clo­sures, flood­ing and fore­casts. If you break down in tor­ren­tial rain keep the bon­net closed while wait­ing for help to ar­rive to avoid the elec­tri­cal sys­tem get­ting soaked. Driv­ing too fast through stand­ing water could lead to tyres los­ing con­tact with the road. If your steer­ing sud­denly feels light you could be aqua­plan­ing. To re­gain grip, ease off the ac­cel­er­a­tor, do not brake and al­low your speed to re­duce un­til you gain full con­trol of the steer­ing again. Driv­ing fast through deep water can cause se­ri­ous and ex­pen­sive dam­age. Be con­sid­er­ate to other road users and try not to spray pedes­tri­ans and cy­clists as you drive through water. Heavy rain may lead to large pud­dles, ar­eas of stand­ing water and even flood­ing. In the event that you may have to ne­go­ti­ate these types of con­di­tions on the road, read below for our ad­vice on how to drive through deep pud­dles.

Stop­ping dis­tances in the rain.

The High­way Code states that stop­ping dis­tances will be at least dou­ble in wet weather be­cause your tyres will have less grip on the road. Re­duce your speed and leave more space be­tween you and the ve­hi­cle in front to ac­count for greater stop­ping dis­tances – remember the two-sec­ond rule? Well in­crease it to four if it be­gins to pour. How to drive through water and floods. ‘Pud­dles’ may con­jure up an im­age of a small drop, but some can de­velop into siz­able bod­ies of water. Driv­ing through these pud­dles in­cor­rectly could cause se­ri­ous dam­age to your car, not to men­tion cost an ex­tor­tion­ate amount to re­pair. As a re­sult we’ve put to­gether some top tips for driv­ing through them: Size up the pud­dle first. Even if it means you have to stop your car and get out, get­ting a bit wet is a lot bet­ter than be­ing left stranded. If the water is muddy you might not be able to see the bot­tom and gauge its depth. Try and find a stick or an ob­ject to find the low­est point. If it’s clearly too deep for your car, find an­other way to your des­ti­na­tion. Mod­ern ve­hi­cles’ door seals are good and keep water out, but this can make a car buoyant, mean­ing it could be­gin to float if the water gets too deep, leav­ing you stranded. Even in this in­stance, the water will even­tu­ally find its way in. If the pud­dle is shal­low enough to drive through, try and spot any ob­jects that may cause dam­age to your car’s wheels, tyres or sus­pen­sion, po­ten­tially leav­ing you mid-pud­dle with a prob­lem. This way you can pick a safe path across. Once you’ve con­firmed you can drive through the pud­dle and de­ter­mined your route, keep your ve­hi­cle in a low gear (sec­ond is gen­er­ally ad­e­quate) and en­gine revs up. This will help you main­tain mo­men­tum when you travel through the pud­dle, cre­at­ing a bow wave so you don’t get bogged down. Once you exit the other side – and espe­cially if the pud­dle is on the deep side – pause for a mo­ment if you can to let any ex­cess water drain away and flow back to where it came from. If you can’t, be aware that grip lev­els on the road ahead will be di­min­ished, as fluid from the pud­dle is dropped along the road sur­face by other cars. It’s al­ways worth­while to gently brush your brake pedal on exit, cre­at­ing some fric­tion and there­fore heat to evap­o­rate off any ex­cess mois­ture. Some lux­ury ve­hi­cles can sense when you’ve nav­i­gated a pud­dle and au­to­mat­i­cally do this for you, keep­ing brak­ing per­for­mance as ef­fec­tive as pos­si­ble. Shal­low pud­dles are not the most ar­du­ous ob­sta­cles to over­come, but it’s still im­por­tant to remember that on the other side of a pud­dle grip lev­els could be lower. Ad­just your speed to suit the depth of the water, too.

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