Twenty-seven percent of people would drive their car through flood water deeper than 30 cm – that’s enough water to move a car! This AA study reveals just how many people don’t realise the danger of harsh weather conditions such as flash floods and storms. Although you might know how to drive through the snow safely, what about other dangerous weather? Here are tips to keep you safe no matter where you’re driving on your holiday.
A study featured in The Guardian found that people tend to drive more recklessly when they’re alone than when they have passengers. Whether you’re driving solo or with your loved ones during your holiday, you need to make safety your priority. You never know when bad weather conditions will strike. By knowing what to do, you can keep everyone safe. Here’s a rundown of harsh weather conditions and how to drive if you find yourself in them.
The snow that’s been left behind by Storm Emma is now becoming water that’s causing harsh driving conditions in the UK. Standing water and flash floods are best avoided by finding alternate routes. Never try to drive through standing water that’s more than six inches or moving water that’s more than four inches. It might not sound like a lot but it’s enough to damage your rental car or leave you stuck. When driving through water, always go very slowly through it and keep your engine revs up to prevent water from entering the exhaust pipe.
Strong winds are more likely to occur on open stretches of roads. If there are trees around, these can be brought down on the road, so you need to be vigilant. When driving through strong winds, make sure you keep both your hands on the steering wheel. Drive slowly and always leave extra space between your car and others, especially when it comes to motorbikes and bicycles. These are more prone to being thrown off balance by strong winds. Keep your eye out for any small branches on the road – these could signal that larger branches or trees are blocking the way further ahead.
Strong winds are common during storms, so the above advice applies to staying safe. But storms also bring downpours of water. Bear in mind that sometimes rain comes before snow so it’s best to stay off the roads if you can to prevent driving in dangerous conditions and keep you and your family safe.
If you can’t avoid being on the road, there are lots you can do to prevent problems before you get into your car. These safety checks will ensure that driving through snow or other harsh conditions will reduce your risk of harm. Before starting your journey, check your windscreen wipers. Make sure they work well so that you ensure greater visibility during storms. Also, check your tyres. They should offer you the best grip during wet conditions. You can do the tyre penny test to check that your tyre tread is safe for driving in harsh conditions. Take a 20p coin and place it in one of your tyre’s grooves that seem worn away. If the coin’s outer band is hidden, your tyre tread is above the legal limit and safe. If, on the other hand, the outer band can be seen, the tyre tread has been worn away and is unsafe.
If there’s hail during the storm, bear in mind you’re at a greater risk of damaging the car if it’s moving. Your best bet is to pull over as soon as you can, such as at a garage. If there’s no place to stop on a long stretch of road, pull over on the side of the road. Make sure your car’s in such a position that the hail will strike the windshield instead of other windows because it’s made of stronger glass. Never leave the car – hail can injure you or your passengers.
Holidays are supposed to be stress-free, but if you have to drive during risky conditions, they can cause you much fear and anxiety. By knowing how to drive in various conditions, such as strong winds, storms and floods, you’ll be able to reach your destination safely.