How to drive in extreme weather conditons

October 10, 2012 | By | In Advice

The arrival of autumn is often signalled by crunchy leaves, woolly jumpers and a craving for a steaming hot bowl of soup. Unfortunately, autumn also comes with less than ideal weather, which can cause hazardous road conditions and make driving difficult. You should avoid driving in extreme conditions wherever possible, but if a journey is necessary, we have plenty of tips to control your driving in different weather conditions.

You should ensure that your car is maintained properly; the risk of an accident is reduced if tyres and brake pads are in good repair. Wear dry and comfortable shoes to ensure you do not slip on the pedals and can remain in full control of the car.

During heavy rainfall your vision may be reduced, so it is vital that you reduce your speed and pull over if you cannot see a sufficient distance ahead. Often storms or heavy patches of rain pass within a few minutes so pulling over will not reduce your journey time significantly.

A build-up of surface water often occurs during heavy rainfall, and this will reduce the friction between your tyres and the road making it easy to skid. To prevent skidding drive with extra care, particularly around curves and bends and steer and brake lightly rather than with force. If your car skids, keep calm and ease off the acceleration. You should steer into the direction you want the front of the car to go, known as ‘steering into the skid’. This will bring the front of the car in line with the back and allow you to move the car back into the correct road position.

Don’t drive through moving water where you cannot see the surface below, as you and your car can easily be swept away.

In windy conditions you should moderate your speed, and look ahead at trees and other objects which give clues to the wind direction so that you are aware. If you do find your car being buffeted by a strong wind causing you to lose control of your vehicle, you should ease off the accelerator and brake carefully if necessary. Hold the steering wheel firmly to regain control of the car.

Snow and ice increases the stopping distance tenfold, and extra care is needed when driving in these conditions. Just like correcting a skid on a wet road, if you skid on ice you should steer into the skid to correct the car.

In order to control your driving in extreme weather, it is vital that you are gentle with steering and with the pedals. Leave plenty of stopping distance and moderate your speed. Harsh weather is not just an inconvenience, it can be very hazardous for drivers and it is important that you prepare yourself and your car for any eventuality. 

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