Living in the UK means that one minute you could be driving in the rain and the next minute the sky clears and the sun is out. Whether you are a learner or have been driving for a while, it is essential to know precisely how to deal with all of the different weather conditions you may face on a day to day basis.
How To Adapt In Different Weather Conditions
It is vital to ensure that you are driving safely at all times, however some adverse weather conditions mean that you have to take more care than you would with others. You will regularly have to adapt your driving to suit the weather, and for new drivers, it is sometimes hard to know what actions to take in tricky situations. We have gathered together the most important points to remember when driving in various weather conditions.
A standard issue that comes hand in hand with warmer weather is the glare on your windscreen from the sun. It is a huge cause of accidents during the summer months as glares make it extremely hard to see ahead and can put you off. Your vision is easily disfigured, and ongoing traffic or the sun can block pedestrians out. Although the job of your sun visor is to solve this problem, it sometimes doesn’t cover the full area of the sun you need blocking out. This is why it is crucial to keep a pair of sunglasses handy in your car, to be able to pop on as soon as a glare appears.
Another heat caused problem is the overheating of your engine. This is commonly caused by a combination of hot temperatures and low coolant levels. Your car will inform you if this becomes an issue and a warning will appear, which means you should pull over in a safe place as soon as possible. To lower the chances of this occurring it is essential always to keep up your coolant levels and try to park your car in shaded areas.
Unfortunately, in the UK it is more than likely that you will regularly be driving in rainy conditions. This means that you should keep up the maintenance of your windscreen wipers to ensure they are ready to use whenever you need them. When it starts to rain, this usually means the sky will look dark and dismal, along with it being rubbish to look at, grey skies also make it harder for other vehicles to see you and vice versa. Turning on your headlights is the only way that you can make yourself more visible to others in the rain, and you should be able to tell yourself what intensity of headlight is required.
One of the most critical aspects of safe driving in the rain is to slow down, take your time and make sure you leave a bigger distance between you and the vehicle in front. The most dangerous time to drive in this condition is the moment it starts to rain. This is because any oil or residue on the road will immediately become slippery and could cause you to spin out.
Although fog is rarely a problem, it is one of the hardest conditions to drive in, so it is essential to know how to drive in fog safely. You should always turn on your basic lights in fog, even if it is light fog and you should switch over to fog lights when visibility becomes less than 100 metres ahead. As soon as visibility becomes better, you must switch off fog lights to avoid dazzling other drivers. Similar to driving in the rain, you need to keep a reasonable distance between you and the car in front. Fog can be misleading, and it can appear as if you are further away from the vehicle in front then you are.
Fog can make driving on country roads increasingly harder as there are no street lamps, so it is crucial to know how to correctly use fog lights. We have many pupils who take driving lessons in Hounslow, which is surrounded by country roads meaning that it is imperative for their driving instructor to go through the suitable situations to use fog lights.
Snow and Ice
Driving in snow and particular ice cause it to be harder for your tyres to grip onto surfaces. It is always important to check tyre pressure, but even more important when planning to drive in icy conditions. Tyres need to be inflated to their full capacity with a tread depth of 3mm. It is also handy to keep a spare tyre in the boot of your vehicle in case of emergencies. Having a spare tyre means that if you break down, you will not have to wait around for hours in the cold for assistance.
When you step out of your house in the morning and your car covered in snow or ice, it is tempting to use the quickest ways to defrost. However, this needs to be done thoroughly, and your visibility needs to be completely clear before setting off. Make sure all ice is removed, and you have de-misted your car, this can be done by starting your engine and turning on the heaters to full blast. You may have seen in the past people use hot water to remove the ice from their windscreen, but this is a myth that could result in a crack your windscreen.
All aspects of driving in the snow and ice need to be done slower and more gently than you regularly would. Braking, manoeuvring and even steering are accentuated in icy conditions. Braking distances are ten times greater when driving on the ice, and if you are breaking, it needs to be done in advance, and slowly, harsh braking can cause a wheel spin.
Ensuring that you are at full safety at all times is important no matter what when you are driving. It is likely that during your driving lesson your instructor would have already set up the car, so they were able to drive to you. This means having to deal with things such as defrosting and demisting your car will be a task that you will only have to deal with alone once you have passed. It is essential that you know how to deal with all weather conditions, even if they are rare, to avoid accidents.