Stay safe in the downpour
According to the RAC, the number of breakdowns they have reported to them in wet weather increases tremendously. Road traffic accidents are far more likely to occur when it’s raining, due to the distracting and slippery nature of the road.
When the road is wet, it becomes much more slippery. A vehicle without sufficient tyre tread, or that’s travelling too fast over the build up of water can aquaplane and slide, resulting in a loss of control and subsequent accident.
Occasionally the downpour reach the point of causing flooding in certain areas, meaning that drivers are stranded in deep water as a result of trying to drive through it. It only takes a handful of water to cause damage to an engine, and water even a foot deep is often enough to sweep away a fully-grown adult.
Rear end shunts become more common in wet weather, due to drivers not leaving a sufficient travelling gap between themselves and road users in front of them. The normally recommended two second gap is too small for driving in the rain, meaning that as one driver brakes those behind find themselves with less room to stop and often swerve, aquaplane or otherwise lose control of their vehicle.
How to be safe
Try to avoid driving in very heavy rain, especially if there is flooding. If you must drive, check your vehicle first to ensure your lights and horn are working correctly, and ensure you take a mobile phone in case of an emergency.
Plan your route well beforehand, and be aware of other potential routes you can take in case you come across a block or redirection on the road. If you do come across flooding, do not attempt to drive through it or you could become stranded. Be very careful when leaving your vehicle, too, that you don’t get swept away by an undercurrent.
Maintain your tyres. If your tyre tread is less than 1.6mm deep this is illegal and can result in points on your licence, but anything under 3mm poses a risk to you if you drive in wet, icy or muddy weather.
Ensure your windscreen wiper blades are operational before setting out. Rain on your windscreen will obscure your vision and make it harder to plan ahead along the road.
Keep a minimum travelling gap of 4 seconds from other road users.