Motorists urged to be careful on wet/flooded roads

Date posted: September 28, 2012

The Met Office, Environment Agency and Scottish Environment Protection Agency are urging the public to prepare for even more possible travel disruption due to weather and flood warnings. There is a yellow warning of rain (further heavy rain or showers) and a large number of flood warnings being issued to the Midlands, North East, North West and Wales.
Hundreds of homes, businesses and schools have also been affected by the month’s worth of rainfall, which is expected to calm down towards the end of this week.

With this in mind, the North Wales Police has urged motorists not to make unnecessary journeys “due to high levels of surface water on the roads.”

The Environment Agency has also advised people to stay away from swollen rivers and not to attempt to drive through floodwater.

The Royal Life Saving Society UK echoed the warning and explained that “just two feet of water is enough to “float a car” while six inches of fast flowing water can knock over a person.”

Driving in heavy rain

There’s no doubt that rain can be extremely hazardous to drive in. Wet road conditions can cause poor visibility and can reduce your control of your vehicle, leading to unsafe driving conditions.

Only venture out if you feel the weather conditions are safe enough to drive in. Certain areas in the UK will be more affected by this week’s downpour than others.

Breakdown recovery experts have listed a few tips on how to stay safe if you’re heading out in your vehicle this week.

Poor visibility

Reduced visibility can increase the chance of an accident or collision but there are several ways to help improve the visibility of the roads during rainy conditions:

  • Windscreen wipers – Set your windscreen wipers to the appropriate speed to ensure maximum possible visibility of the road. Adjust the speed of the wipers accordingly if the rain calms down or intensifies.
  • Headlights – As with most wet and miserable days in Britain, the skies are grey and dreary, making for dull and dark weather conditions. You can increase your visibility of the road by switching on your headlights. Always remember to switch them off when visibility is improved.

Loss of control

Rain also affects your control of your vehicle including aquaplaning, which is very dangerous. In order to maintain control whilst driving, you should do the following:

  • Keep a fair distance between your vehicle and the car ahead (at least three cars length), just in case you happen to skid when you apply the brakes. Rain can affect stopping distances significantly so be careful not to hammer the brakes otherwise you’re guaranteed to aquaplane, which is caused by the loss of traction.
  • Drive at a steady speed through standing water (if it’s safe enough to do so) and use a low gear but use enough revs to prevent stalling and car breakdown. Do not proceed through standing water if you deem it too deep.

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