Heavy rain can make for tricky conditions while driving, so it’s important to be prepared for whatever the weather brings. Some of the preparations you make can include leaving extra time for journeys and re-planning routes to avoid flood risk areas.
As we experience a late summer and mild autumn, the air is slightly warmer than normal for this time of year. This means that whenever it rains, we tend to have fewer light showers and more massive downpours making for difficult conditions on the roads.
During heavy rainfall and even for some time afterwards, the surface of the road will often be covered in a sheet of water. This makes it difficult for tyres to grip the road properly, reducing a driver’s control over basic things like braking and steering.
Before you set off on a long journey, make sure that your vehicle’s tyres are in good condition. For vans, lorries and HGVs, regular health checks are a must as they will help you to assess whether the vehicle can handle any adverse conditions. Keeping your speed down and leaving a bit of distance between other vehicles is also highly advised as your stopping distances will be greatly affected in the rain.
There are plenty of other factors to take into account that can help to improve your travels and keep you and other drivers safe on the roads. If you notice your steering becoming too light, try easing off the accelerator to naturally slow down while your tyres regain their grip on the road.
Avoid puddles as much as you can. While many puddles may be shallow, they can give you a false illusion, especially where there are large dips and potholes that can damage your vehicle. You should also prevent your windows from misting up, which you can do by keeping your air conditioning on and aimed at the windows. If your cab doesn’t have air-con, try opening the windows a touch as this also helps with the air circulation.
If you do end up breaking down in a torrential downpour, take care to prevent your engine and electrics from getting soaked while you wait for recovery. Keep all under-the-hood access closed off and be sure to use your hazard lights, as visibility can be significantly poor in these conditions.