Driving In Adverse Conditions
You need to prepare for the unexpected when you’re out on the road, especially when driving in adverse conditions. With extreme weather becoming more frequent, it’s more important than ever to make sure your car is ready to weather everything from blizzards to heat waves and torrential downpours, and that you can respond calmly and promptly in the event of a breakdown.
Whether you’re driving on icy roads or your visibility is restricted by fog, driving slowly and carefully is essential – not only to protect yourself, your passengers and other people out on the road, but also to make sure you’re driving within the law. It is a legal requirement to use headlights in reduced visibility, and being aware of the extended braking times in wet weather could mean the difference between life and death.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, the scorching summer heat can also prove hazardous to drivers, especially those who are not used to warmer climates. Drowsiness brought on by heat can be as dangerous as other forms of tiredness and distractions behind the wheel, so it’s vital to keep your car well ventilated by winding down windows, and taking breaks in shaded areas if you feel the heat getting to you.
Just as drivers need to be aware of wet and slippery roads in the winter, extreme heat can similarly affect the surface of soft roads by melting the tarmac, which can cause a bumpy and uneven ride and even affect your steering and braking.
If you have an inkling of the weather before you set off, it’s essential to carry out a pre-journey check to make sure your vehicle is prepared. This includes making sure all systems are operating efficiently – everything from your lights to your windscreen wipers and water and oil levels – as well as kitting your car out with everything you’ll need in the event that you become stuck out on the road, including your trusty mobile phone, a torch and first aid kit.
While we don’t always have the luxury of knowing the weather in advance, some of these items can be kept in easily accessible places inside your car at all times. At the very least, keep an accident action pack within easy reach that contains the numbers for emergency services, your insurance company and local garages, if you need mobile glaziers to carry out services such as windscreen replacement.