Our top tips for safe driving in heavy rainfall

Our top tips for safe driving in heavy rainfall

While we’d like to say this is a more winter-specific problem, let’s be honest – it’s one of those areas that’s relevant all year round here in the UK. On the plus side, it means even new drivers tend to get fairly experienced quite quickly at all the skills necessary for safe driving in the rain – but when it gets particularly heavy, that can get quite daunting even for the most experienced drivers.

If the skies are looking a little grey (or heaven forbid, black) and you’ve got a big journey coming up, then whether you’re planning to hire a car or you’re taking your own, then here are some good tips to bear in mind!

Preparation is key for safe driving

Before you take your car out in heavy rainfall, it's worth quickly checking the windscreen wipers to make sure they are in good condition and capable of effectively clearing water from the windscreen. Additionally, inspect your tyres to ensure they have sufficient tread depth for improved traction on wet roads. It's also wise to check your brakes, lights, and indicators to ensure they are all functioning correctly.

(Of course, if you’re hiring a vehicle from us here at Intack, you can rest assured that they’re all exactly the kind of checks we make in our regular vehicle maintenance!)

Stay informed and plan your route

This is one that a lot of people tend to underestimate, but it can really save you a major headache later on – check weather forecasts and road conditions to stay informed about potential hazards along your route. If heavy rainfall is expected in your area, you may even want to consider delaying your trip or choosing an alternative route. If you must travel, take care to plan the route in advance, and if you can, allow extra time to reach your destination safely.

Even if you have a satnav handy, it can help to familiarise yourself with the route, and have a backup plan in case of unexpected closures or diversions. Don’t forget, it can help to keep an eye on traffic updates via radio or smartphone apps to stay informed about any accidents or congestion on your route. If you’re carrying passengers, you can perhaps suggest they earn their keep!

You’ll need more time than you probably expect

You don’t have to be an expert rally driver to know that heavy rainfall can significantly reduce your visibility, and make it difficult to spot hazards on the road. That means you’ll need to be extra attentive while driving, keeping an eye out for standing water, debris, and other obstacles that may pose a risk. That’s easier when you’re rested and alert – so if it’s a trip of more than an hour or so, you may want to start thinking about whether it’s worth factoring in extra time for breaks, so that you can refresh your mind and stay alert for the next leg of the journey.

Slippery roads and reduced traction mean that it takes longer to stop in wet conditions. You’ll need to reduce your speed accordingly, taking into account the current weather and road conditions. Similarly, that normally means increasing your following distance from the vehicle in front of you to allow for extra stopping time and minimise the risk of rear-end collisions.

Avoid sudden manoeuvres

This is closely tied to what we’ve just been saying about road conditions – in slippery conditions, sudden manoeuvres such as sharp turns or abrupt braking can easily cause a loss of control and lead to accidents. For that reason alone, it’s a good idea to take extra care to ensure you maintain a smooth and steady driving style, giving yourself plenty of time to anticipate changes in road conditions and traffic flow.

If you need to change lanes or make a turn, do so gradually and with caution. Avoid sudden lane changes or swerving to avoid obstacles, as this can destabilise your vehicle – in the best case scenario, that can result in a minor fender bender, and in the worst case scenario, it can mean aquaplaning into quite a serious collision.

Be prepared for emergencies

As the saying goes, even the best laid plans can sometimes go awry – so unexpected situations may arise while driving in heavy rainfall. It’s therefore a good idea to keep an emergency kit in your vehicle stocked with essentials such as a torch, first aid supplies, bottled water, and non-perishable snacks. (And the longer your journey, the more important this is!) By the same token, it’s also wise to carry a reflective jacket and warning triangle to increase your visibility in case you need to pull over in an emergency.

And of course, if you’ve got a journey coming up (whether in heavy rainfall or not) and you need a reliable vehicle to help you make the trip, you’re in exactly the right place. Here at Intack, we’re proud to have over 50 years of experience in van, car and minibus hire.

Our extensive fleet comprises of more than 450 vehicles, including cars, vans, and minibuses. We offer both Flexi hire and daily hire options, so you can rent the vehicle for as long or as little as you need! Feel free to contact us at 01254 57811, and we would be more than happy to help you in any way we can!

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