How to Drive Safely in the Rain

Read our tips and avoid being stranded when heavy rain and floods strike

The recent heavy rain and floods has heralded the arrival of Winter and the Met Office has now issued an amber weather warning for heavy rain across the UK. And while the rain may seem unstoppable, the journeys we need to make on a daily basis are not. Stay safe and read our handy tips for driving in the rain.

Before your journey starts:

  1. Think ahead. Plan your route and take care to avoid areas which are prone to flooding.
  2. Extra time. Factoring in extra time to allow for slower speeds and potential congestion. Accept that your normal journey time will be extended.
  3. Wiper blades. Are they fully functional? If both front and back blades are not up to scratch, get them replaced. In extreme weather they will be tested to the max!
  4. Have enough fuel. Using your lights and heaters and being caught in traffic use more fuel than driving in normal conditions so always have enough to help you reach your destination.
  5. Mobile Phone. In case of any emergencies have a phone handy. Remember to always pull over safely before calling anyone.

While in transit:

  1. Dip headlights. This helps other drivers see you more easily
  2. Don’t use rear fog lights. They can mask your brake lights and dazzle drivers behind you.
  3. Reduce speed. Don’t tailgate and leave more space between you and the vehicle in front to account for greater stopping distances.
  4. Large or fast-moving vehicles can create spray. This reduces visibility and may cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
  5. Listen to local news bulletins. These are a great resource and can communicate up to the minute road closures and flooding areas.
  6. Break downs. If this happens in torrential rain keep the bonnet closed while waiting for help to arrive, to avoid the electrical system getting soaked
  7. Driving too fast through standing water. This could lead to tyres losing contact with the road and if your steering suddenly feels light you could be aquaplaning. To regain grip, ease off the accelerator, do not brake and allow your speed to reduce until you gain full control of the steering again
  8. Driving fast through deep water should be avoided and can cause serious and expensive damage

Driving In Flooded Areas

  1. Do not attempt to drive through water if you are unsure of the depth. The edge of the kerb is a good indicator of how deep the water level is. Always drive on the highest section of the road.
  2. Drive steadily and slowly. Allow oncoming traffic to pass first - make sure you have a clear route ahead so you do not have to stop in standing water as this could cause damage.
  3. Don’t Drive at speed. This may be dangerous to other vehicles or pedestrians and could cause loss of control.
  4. Drive a safe distance from the vehicle in front to avoid accidents.
  5. Never attempt to drive through fast flowing water – you could easily get swept away.
  6. Test your brakes after leaving flood water.
  7. If your engine cuts out after driving through water, do not attempt to restart as there could be damage. Pull over and call for assistance.