Driving in heavy rain and strong winds

Driving in the wind and rain

Winter weather can often be extreme and can create a whole host of potential hazards for drivers. From lashings of heavy rain to strong, blustery winds, dangers on the roads can increase throughout the season. Staying out of harm's way and keeping other road users safe is of prime importance, so have a read through our tips to make sure you're fully prepared for any nasty weather that may be coming our way.

Before setting off

Sometimes it can seem like the rain is never going to stop during the winter and it's not always possible to avoid journeys throughout this time. However, there are a number of things you can do before setting off, to make sure your vehicle is better prepared for driving through heavy rain. For instance:

Take the time to plan your journey thoroughly, looking at alternative routes that will avoid possible flooded areas.Remember that you'll need extra time to allow for greater stopping distances, potential changes of route and possible congestion.

Make sure that your windscreen wipers are working properly, as these will be essential throughout your journey.Fill up with petrol before setting off, as having lights and heaters on more than usual can use up greater amounts of fuel.

Places to avoid

Certain places are affected more by adverse weather than others. High bridges and roads near the coast or rivers that are likely to overflow are best avoided to keep you and your vehicle safe. If you can, drive along sheltered roads and never go through deep water. You can never be 100 percent sure of how deep it is and it can cause your vehicle to break down. Your car insurance can be affected by this, as you will need to prove any damage wasn't your fault to make a claim.

Driving during rain

Once you've embarked on your journey through the rain, there are certain steps you can take to keep yourself safe while driving:

  • Keep a safe speed. Going too fast can be even more dangerous during rain than at other times as it is more likely to lead to a loss of control
  • Dip headlights to help other road users see you through the rain
  • Keep fog lights turned off, as they could affect the view of motorists behind you
  • Try not to spray cyclists or pedestrians and watch out for spray from other vehicles

If you do have to drive through deep water, always test out your brakes afterwards. If they aren't working properly, stop and ask for assistance

Windy days

High winds can make travel unpredictable, as it is easier to lose control of your vehicle. Bear these points in mind to keep yourself as safe as possible:

  • Unexpected gusts of wind could arise from exposed areas and tall vehicles overtaking you. Always keep a firm grip of your steering wheel
  • Watch out for any debris and vehicles being towed, or roof boxes that could become loose
  • Keep your distance from cyclists, as they could get blown off course
  • Look ahead to see what's happening to other vehicles so you can see what to expect further along your journey
  • When arriving at your destination, always park away from trees, but in a sheltered place if possible

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Published: 29th January 2014 (RB)