Road safety charity the IAM is offering weekly motoring tips from Britain's top advanced driver, Peter Rodger. In response to the current severe weather warnings, he gives advice on driving in heavy rain:
- Before you set off, set your heater controls – rain makes the windows mist up in seconds. You don't want to be fiddling with controls when you should be concentrating on the road.
- Watch your speed – In the rain your stopping distance should be at least doubled. Giving yourself more space will help to avoid spray; especially important when following a large vehicle.
- Keep your eyes on the road ahead and plan your driving so that you can brake, accelerate and steer smoothly. Be aware that harsh manoeuvres can unbalance the car.
- If you have cruise control, avoid using it on wet roads – it may create problems if you start to aquaplane.
- See and be seen. Put your lights on – as a rule of thumb, whenever you need to use your wipers you should also turn your headlights on, and before overtaking put your wipers on their fastest setting to allow for spray.
- Making sure your car is properly maintained will make a difference too. Check your windscreen wipers, tyre pressure and tread depth, and that all of your lights work and are clean. Make sure that as well as keeping your washer fluid topped up, you also clean the inside of your windscreen as not to hinder your view.
Rodger said: "There's nothing quite like getting to your car in the rain. It's a haven from the elements. But be cautious, especially after prolonged dry spells – rain on a dry road is dangerously slippery.
"The prospect of waiting for a bus in the pouring rain after your work Christmas party is a daunting one, but don't fall into the temptation of driving home after drinking – a drink-driving conviction is not worth the avoidance of soggy trousers."