Driving lesson

Expert advice for driving safely in storms and floods as Met Office issues weather warning

Storm Dudley and Storm Eunice are expected to hit much of the UK with flooding and winds this week. Here’s how to drive safely in storms and floods, according to an expert

Expert reveals advice on safest ways to weather storms and floods

Storm Dudley made landfall on Tuesday bringing heavy rain and strong winds across the UK. This will soon be followed by Storm Eunice, with the Met Office warning everyone to ‘stay indoors’ as winds reaching 100 mph are expected to move in by Friday.

As back-to-back storms are expected to wreak havoc in several parts of the UK this week, experts at Bill Plant Driving School have given Britons their top tips for driving safely in stormy weather and flooding.

Driving in storms, heavy rains and floods is risky. From important safety checks before heading out to drive in flood waters, here’s everything you need to do when driving in bad weather.

Perform security checks







Consider if your trip is really necessary in stormy weather
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Picture:

AFP via Getty Images)


According to the Bill Plant Driving School, there are a few key safety checks to complete before heading out in stormy weather. These are:

  • Make sure your windshield wipers are working properly – they need to be able to clean water off your windshield effectively.
  • Make sure your tires meet the recommended legal tread depth – you need this to have enough grip on the road.
  • Make sure you have enough fuel – the use of windscreen wipers, headlights and heaters can quickly drain your gas, as well as the high traffic levels that often occur during a downpour.
  • Keep warm clothes and food in the car in case you get stuck.

Finally, they also ask to determine if your move is really necessary. If you really need to move, avoid areas prone to flooding such as river banks and reservoirs.

Leaving in bad weather

If your trip is really necessary and you’re ready to go, here’s what to remember.

First, reduce your speed and leave as much space as possible between you and the vehicle in front of you. Keep an eye out for vulnerable road users such as cyclists and motorcyclists as they can be blown into your path by high winds. If there are strong winds, also keep an eye out for debris such as tree branches and garbage cans.

Second, don’t drive too fast and stay alert around large vehicles or fast-moving vehicles, as they can create spray that reduces visibility.

In terms of visibility, a good tip would be to use your air conditioning in addition to your heating, to prevent your windows from fogging up.

As the floods approach

Always try to avoid flooded areas where possible and plan your trip in advance. However, if you do end up traversing standing floodwaters, be aware of the risk of getting stuck.

The maximum depth that most cars can go through is around 10cm. Any more than that and your car could start to float. So try to aim for the shallowest part, which is usually the center of the route.

When driving through water, keep the vehicle at a low speed, maintaining momentum to get to the other side. Try to drive slowly and steadily at no more than 3-4 mph in standing water.

Another thing to keep in mind is never to brake hard when driving through water. This can cause you to hydroplane, which is when water collects in front of your tires faster than the weight of your car can move it.

So if you feel your steering getting light, release the throttle and let the car slow down.

After crossing the water







In case you get stuck in flood waters, the best thing to do is to stay in your vehicle and call for help.
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Picture:

PENNSYLVANIA)


Never stop your vehicle in standing water as you could damage your exhaust pipe. In case you get stuck in flood waters, the best thing to do is stay in your vehicle and call for help.

If you have just crossed water and it is safe to do so, stop and let the water drain out of the vehicle.

Checks may include applying light pressure to your brakes to make sure they are dry. Remember to keep the hood closed, as rain may cause damage and high winds may damage the hood hinge.

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