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Driving and Weather Conditions

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 28 Dec 2015 | comments*Discuss
Treacherous Driving Conditions Extreme

Different types of weather can lead to very difficult and treacherous driving conditions.

Here are some tips on how to stay safe in extreme weather conditions:

Heavy Rain

It rains so often in this country that it's really easy to become complacent about driving on wet slippery surfaces.

When the rain first comes down it combines with fuel spilt on the road, soot, dust, and debris from tyres and cars, and the result can be a slick road surface that can lead to the driver slipping and sliding all dangerously all over the road.

  • Slow Down
    It seems obvious, but your tyres will have far less grip than in the dry so do keep your speeds down. Travelling too fast in wet weather can also result in what is known as aquaplaning. This happens when a layer of water forms between the road surface and your tyres. Effectively, your tyres aren't touching the road and you will lose control over your steering and braking.

  • Increase Stopping Distances
    Increase the distance in between your vehicle and the vehicle in front. You can expect to need to double your stopping distances in heavy rain. * Reduce the pressure on the pedalsIn particular, this concerns the brake pedal. When slowing down, ease off your accelerator and slow down gradually to avoid skidding and losing control. Slamming on the brakes will increase the likelihood of you going into an uncontrollable skid and ending up in an accident.

  • Turn on Your Headlights
    Rain and spray will reduce visibility, and turning on your headlights will also make you more visible to other drivers in gloomy conditions.

Flooded Roads

  • Don't Take Risks
    Don't try to drive over a flooded road, if at all possible, turn back and find another way.

  • Don't Underestimate The Power of Water
    Remember that 2 feet of water, moving quickly, is enough to float a car. Slow moving water is capable of sweeping a car off a road or bridge.

  • Abandon if Water Rises
    If you are in your car and water begins to rise rapidly around you, abandon the vehicle immediately.

  • Driving Through Floodwater
    If you have to drive through floodwater, move slowly in first gear, keeping the engine speed high to prevent it stalling and to keep water from backing up the exhaust.

Snow and Ice

Snow can be dangerous in the UK, because we're just not used to it.

The first fall of snow is the most dangerous if the roads haven't yet been gritted, but ice is even worse because sometimes you just can't see it. When water runs onto the road, or forms a pool, it will turn to black ice, and this can be incredibly hard to spot, especially on corners and roundabouts where shadows from the road can hide it even more.

  • Carefully Defrost Your Car
    Before you drive your car away, check that you have cleared all the snow from your windows and windscreen, and that you can see in your mirrors clearly. Also make sure that your lights are clear and are not covered by snow.

  • Check Your Grip
    When you start driving, find a quiet, safe place as soon as you can and brake gently, testing your grip on the road.

  • Drive Slowly
    Drive slowly and carefully, and make sure your stopping distances are increased appropriately.

  • Treat Bends With Caution
    Be careful on bends. Brake slowly and increase the pressure gradually as you approach a bend and be ultra-careful on roundabouts as these are like one big bend when it comes to icy conditions.

  • Drive in a High Gear
    Drive in a higher gear than you would usually use, this will give you more control over your vehicle.


If you're out in fog, take particular care as it can be patchy and unpredictable. Driving in fog is pretty safe as long as you use your common sense.

  • Entering Fog
    As you approach a foggy patch, start to slow down and check your mirrors. Gently use your footbrake so other drivers can see that there is a reason to start slowing down ahead.

  • Dip Your Headlights
    Use dipped headlights and fog lights if your visibility is compromised. Do remember to switch off your fog lights when the foggy spell is over as it is an offence to use fog lights in clear conditions (where visibility is 100+ metres).

  • Keep an Eye on Your Speed
    If you can only see 40 feet or less ahead of your car then you need to bring your speed down to 20mph.

  • Watch Out
    Keep your eyes open for other drivers who are not using fog lights or dipped headlights. Drive cautiously and don't take any chances.

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    Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
    At the former roundabout at the Fortune of War A127 Basildon a camera enforces a 40mph limit .The road has yellow bar markings that are un-autherised by the DfT. These road markings are only for NSL roads,and as road markings are legally signs is the camera non-compliant ? The DfT refuse to answer FOI requests!!!!
    mad mick - 28-Dec-15 @ 1:04 AM
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