Driving safely in difficult weather conditions

February tends to be the month when we are hit by the worst of the winter weather and this year is no different.

There has been record rainfall for a couple of months, leaving rivers swollen and flooding beyond their banks, roads under water and now there is the Beast from the East II.

Generally, the advice is to avoid making a journey unless it is necessary, but what if you have to drive somewhere?

Firstly, make sure you allow extra time for the journey and that your car has standard emergency kit (blanket, shovel, warning triangle, sturdy boots, a torch and a hot drink) in case of a breakdown. Also make sure your mobile phone is fully charged and that you have plenty of petrol.

Here’s some advice for coping:

  1. Heavy rain and floods

The AA advise that you try to avoid driving into standing water because you often have no idea how deep it is.

It also advises:

  • Don’t drive into flood water that’s moving or more than 10cm (4 inches) deep. …
  • Drive slowly and steadily so you don’t make a bow wave.
  • Test your brakes as soon as you can afterwards.
  • Fast-moving water is very powerful – take care or your car could be swept away.

If driving in heavy rain it advises that you turn on your headlights and leave twice the normal distance between your car and the one in front. If your steering feels light, this means the care may be aquaplaning (the wheels have insufficient or no contact with the road surface) so you should ease off the accelerator and slow down gradually.

  1. Snow and ice

Again, don’t drive unless you absolutely have to.

Make sure to clear all the snow off your car before you set out, not only from the windscreen but also from the roof.

Again, the AA has some tips for coping with driving in snow:

  • Pull away in second gear, easing your foot off the clutch gently to avoid wheel-spin.
  • If you have to use your brakes, apply them gently.
  • Driving uphill – leave plenty of room between other cars or wait until it’s clear so you don’t have to stop part way up. Keep a constant speed and try to avoid having to change gear on the hill.
  • Driving downhill – slow down before the hill, use a low gear and try to avoid braking. Leave as much room as you can after the car in front.

If you have to go out but are worried about driving in winter weather you can always call us at STS. Above all, stay safe.