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Expert Driving Techniques in all Weathers

By: Kevin Dowling BA (IMC) - Updated: 13 Jun 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Expert Driving Techniques Weather

Find out how to stay safe on the road with this guide to expert driving techniques in extreme weather.

Heavy Rain

Rain is the single most common cause of road accidents. Drivers have a tendency to forget the simple fact that stopping distances increase 100% in wet conditions. For example it can take up to 50metres to bring your car to a stop if you are travelling at just 30 miles per hour.

How to Avoid Aquaplaning

Aquaplaning is the name given to what happens when your wheels fail to make proper contact with the road surface beneath them Instead of your tyres gripping the road, instead they spin against the surface of the water.

If you feel your car start to aquaplane, the best tip is to do nothing. Do not brake or accelerate. Instead you should keep your steering firm and let the car coast briefly. When the car starts to slow down the tyres should be able to regain their grip on the road and you’ll have control back.

Flooding

Flooded roads can cause long term damage to your car. Driving through a flooded road can ruin your engine and also weaken the stopping power of your brakes.

If you do have to drive through a flooded road stay in first gear. Try to move through the road at a slow pace and keep your revs high to prevent your engine stalling. If it stalls you’ll have great difficulty getting the engine started again.

Once you have negotiated the flooded road, test your brakes. If they feel excessively spongy or slack, you should call for roadside assistance as they may not be safe to drive with. At the very least, give them time to dry out.

Snow and Ice

Snow and ice can be particularly hazardous for motorists, so if the forecast is for the weather to worsen think twice about travelling.

If you do have to drive, look out for evidence of ice as soon as you get into your vehicle. Most modern cars less than five years old will have ice warning lights and a temperature gauge located somewhere on the dashboard.

Make sure that you know where they are before you need them. If the temperature gauge is measuring lower than 3ºC then brace yourself for an icy journey.

Once you have set off, keep alert to any warnings that you can pick up on during your journey. For example, keep an eye out for salt spreading machines and snow ploughs. They are usually pretty easy to spot; flashing amber warning lights and driving at a speed of between 30 and 40 miles per hour.

If you spot one, try to keep as far away as possible and do not attempt to overtake – there’s no point trying to get past a snow plough as it is clearing the way for those cars behind it. Gritting machines can also scratch the bodywork of cars close by them as they send grit out onto the road in as far a range as possible.

If you find that your wheels seem unusually quiet on the road, this is usually a sign that your tyres are driving on ice so take extra care and reduce your speed. Stopping distances can be up to ten times longer in heavy snow conditions, so avoid any risky manoeuvres.

Dense Fog

If you are driving in a fog so dense that you cannot see further than 100 metres ahead, you should switch your foglights on. Use your windscreen wipers to prevent your windscreen from misting up.

Thick fog can sometimes dissipate and then reappear. Once conditions have improved remember to switch off your fog lights to prevent them dazzling oncoming drivers. You should switch on your dipped headlights and prepare yourself for the fog reappearing by driving at slow, safe speeds.

Winds

If you find yourself driving in a strong wind, take extra care of other vehicles and road users around you. Strong gusts of wind can blow motorcyclists and high-sided vehicles such as articulated lorries, caravans and coaches dramatically off course, so try to avoid any overtaking manoeuvres that could put them or you in jeopardy.

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I passed my driving test about five months ago now I’m looking to improve my driving skills so I can become a professionalprivate driver I need some advice whichcourseI need to take
Julian King - 13-Jun-18 @ 4:49 PM
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