In the UK, the weather changes all the time and sometimes you have no choice but to drive even though it can be unsafe. Here are a few things to know about driving in different types of weather.
Heavy rain isn’t fun to drive in. Large vehicles kick up a lot of spray and there are hidden potholes at the bottom of puddles.
The safest way to drive in the rain is to leave plenty of space to brake in case the car in front stops suddenly. You need a lot more time to stop in the wet because the brakes take longer to grip as the water acts as a lubricant.
When driving round corners in the rain take them much slower than you would if it was dry. It’s very easy to end up sliding on water as the tyres want to break free and slip.
Wet or greasy roads
Often we’ll wake up to find it has rained overnight, but the conditions in the morning are clear and sunny. It’s very easy to be lulled into a false sense of security and forget that the road surface is still very wet.
This is even more dangerous if a lot of dry weather is followed by sudden wet weather. Grease, dirt and oil builds up on the road and mixes when it rains, leaving the road very greasy and slippery. If the roads are wet but it’s sunny or clear drive as if it’s still raining as it is very easy to lose control in these conditions.
Snow and ice
If possible just don’t drive if it’s really icy or snowy. If you really have to then hopefully you will be driving a manual, front wheel drive car. Automatics and rear wheel drive cars can be difficult to control in snow.
The basic thing to remember when driving in the snow is don’t touch the brakes. As soon as you touch the brakes the car will just slide and you won’t have any control at all, no matter how hard you press the brake.
The trick is to keep the car at a safe speed and use the gears and clutch to slow the car down. By going into a lower gear you’re able to slow the car down while still being in control. To make use of this you’ll have to anticipate junctions and lights, but using this technique will make it so much easier to drive in the snow.
Pulling away in mud, ice or snow
If your wheels are just spinning and you’re not going anywhere, try a higher gear. Using a higher gear such as second or third allows the engine to work on higher revs while the wheels move very slowly. This gives the engine much more slow pulling power and helps to stop the wheels from spinning. If you’re stuck in really deep snow or mud then you’ll probably need to get someone to tow you out!
It is vital you understand how to react to different weather condition, which is why you may be asked about it in your driving theory test.