How To Drive In Heavy Rain And Flooding – Everything You Need To Know To Stay Safe On The Road

DRIVING can be dangerous in even the most perfect weather conditions, so when you add heavy rain to the mix, things become more risky.

With flood warnings issued around the country, it's important Brits know how to stay safe on a wet road.

 Flood warnings have been issued around the UK, making road conditions more dangerous>Getty - Contributor>4
Flood warnings have been issued around the UK, making road conditions more dangerous

Getting your car prepared to drive in adverse weather conditions is just as important as how you handle it on the road.

Before you set off, be sure to check your windscreen wipers are working and your tyres have plenty of tread on them as a priority.

Here's everything you need to know to keep you safe on the road when the weather turns sour.

Heavy rain

 Stopping distances at least double when the road is wet>The AA>4
Stopping distances at least double when the road is wet

The most important thing to remember when driving in rain is your stopping distance will be increased significantly.

In dry conditions, a car travelling at just 20mph takes 12 metres to stop completely - but wet weather more than doubles this distance.

This means drivers on the motorway during heavy rain will need to allow almost 200m between them and the nearest car in front to avoid a 70mph accident.

As a rule of thumb for wet weather, if you need to use your windscreen wipers in the conditions, you should also put your dipped headlights on.

Motorists can actually be fined for failing to use their headlights correctly when visibility is reduced, so it's always best to switch them on during intense rain.


 Splashing a pedestrian could land you a fine, even if it was an accident>Alamy>4
Splashing a pedestrian could land you a fine, even if it was an accident

Wherever possible, you should always avoid driving over a flooded road.

But in some cases it can be safe to pass through light flooding.

If the water is still, and no more than six inches deep, it's usually okay to drive slowly through it.

You should never attempt to drive through fast flowing water, or simply follow the lead of other cars crossing flood waters.

If you can't see where the water has come from or you have any doubts, turn around and find a different route.

Bear in mind driving through water of any kind can damage your car, especially if its air intake is in the wheel arch.

If you do travel through flood waters, be sure to always check your brakes first before setting off again.

If they don’t appear to be working properly, dry them out by applying light pressure to the brake pedal while moving along slowly - and don’t drive at normal speed until you’re sure they’re fully functioning again.

Finally, make sure to keep an eye out for pedestrians, as even splashing someone accidentally could land you with a fine. 


 Water on the road can cause your car to aquaplane>>4
Water on the road can cause your car to aquaplane

Aquaplaning - skidding on water - occurs when a wedge of water forms in front of the tyre and lifts it up off the road surface.

If you feel your car losing grip with the road, gently ease off the accelerator but don't brake.

Have a firm grip of the steering wheel and be sure not to make any sudden steering actions.

The car will eventually regain its grip as water clears from the road.

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Rodney Kumar, spokesman for IAM RoadSmart, said: "Your car will take a lot longer to come to a stop in an emergency, so don’t drive the same way you would in the dry.

"Keep your speed down – many crashes in rain could be avoided if people didn’t drive at the speed as they might do in clear conditions.

"Use your headlights and get those tyres checked – they are your car’s only contact with the road, and grip is especially critical in the wet.

“A general rule of thumb for flooding is if the water is six inches or more deep (that’s half the length of a school ruler), then you should not drive through it.

"And finally, keep an eye out for pedestrians rushing to get to school or work – you might hate the rain, but they do even more.”

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