To put it mildly, the weather in the UK is temperamental. Even during the summer months, we are not guaranteed to enjoy favourable conditions.
We have seen in recent years that these variations in weather tend to become more extreme and can quickly change from blistering heat to downpours worthy of a mention in the Book of Genesis.
Humans are, however, nothing but resourceful and capable of adapting to meet the environment we find ourselves in.
This rings true for when we’re on the road. Depending on the weather conditions that we find ourselves driving in, it is important that we adapt our driving style to safely complete our journeys.
Below you will find some tips on the best ways to adapt your driving style depending on the circumstances that you are driving in.
Driving In Rain & Wet Conditions
Rain brings with it the need to be more cautious when braking. Depending on how heavy the rain is falling and how much surface water is present on the road, the stopping distance of a vehicle can be double that of a dry road.
In extreme instances, a vehicle can aquaplane – the process of your tyres essentially floating on a small layer of water, leaving you with little to no control. If this does happen the best course of action is to gradually slow down by gently easing off the accelerator.
As your vehicle slows, the tyres will come back into contact with the road. It is vitally important that you do not brake suddenly as this will make matters worse and could send your vehicle into a spin.
Leaving extra distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you when the weather conditions are wet is important in reducing the risk of an accident.
The last thing to be aware of when driving in heavy rain is that your visibility will likely be impeded somewhat – be it from the spray of the road or from the rain itself. Slower driving is recommended to give you more chance of reacting to events which you may see later than normal.
Driving in Fog
If you find yourself amidst fog when driving, the most obvious difficulty is the lack of vision. In extreme circumstances, the visibility of motorists can be cut right down to a matter or inches in front of the vehicle.
Due to the inability to see clearly, it is imperative that when driving in fog, you slow down and that you dip your headlights. If required, make use of your fog lights – The Highway Code states that motorists must use headlights when you can’t see for more than 100m in front of you.
Once the fog begins to clear, remember to switch your fog lights off – to avoid dazzling other motorists. If there is traffic in front of you ensure you keep a longer distance than usual.
As with other adverse weather, it is critical you have a heightened awareness of your surroundings and other vehicles. If possible, and you are struggling, pull over and wait.
Driving In High Winds
Being an island on the edge of a continent does mean that the UK is susceptible to some blustery days.
A strong gust of wind can be hazardous and has the potential to blow a vehicle off course – especially in the case of vans and lorries. Added caution and a greater awareness of your surroundings is key when driving in high-speed winds.
Be aware of the other vehicles around you – and avoid getting too close, this is particularly true if you are driving at high speeds (such as on a motorway) and near lorries, vans or motorbikes.
Driving in Hot weather
Extreme hot weather is not a common issue that motorists need to worry about in the UK. However, it is not unknown for a heat wave to cause issues with the roads.
The main components of a car that can be affected during high heat levels is the steering and the braking. This is due to the road surface becoming softer in intense heat. Caution is required and – again – an awareness of your environment.
Visibility can be a factor with bright sunshine. So, use of the vehicle’s visors and making sure you have sunglasses to hand is important. If you are unable to enjoy good visibility due to the sun, slow down and take care.
All Season Tyres
A good tyre option for an all round performance through the months and the various weather conditions is all season tyres. This category of tyre is designed to cope with all sorts of conditions – delivering a good performance throughout the year. The tread compound of these tyres usually consist of moderate natural rubber to help stop the tyre hardening in temperatures below 0 degrees Celsius – enhancing grip.