24 Jul, 23

Driving in Heavy Rain and Floods: A Guide

Driving can be dangerous when there is flooding and severe rain. Here are some helpful advice and pointers to get you ready for rainy weather. When the weather is wet, breakdown rates always rise because the moisture wreaks havoc on electrical and mechanical components. Driving in heavy rain can easily flood your engine. If you must drive in wet conditions, there are a few precautions you may take to lower your risk of an accident or breakdown.

driving in heavy rain

How to get ready for driving in heavy rain

First and first, it’s always a good idea to ask yourself if your trip is necessary before you leave. If not, might it be postponed till the rain stops? If so, make sure to avoid flood-prone areas when planning your route. Always leave extra time to account for slower speeds and probable traffic jams.

Read more: Wet Roads, Clear Minds: Master The Art Of Driving In The Rain

It’s a good idea to inform family and friends of your desired route and estimated arrival time. If at all possible, travel in groups. Check your car before you go in the winter by using the checklist below or by watching our video.

Before leaving

  • Verify that the wiper blades on your windscreen are completely operational. Replace the front and back blades if they are both damaged.
  • It can be wise to change the wipers on an older vehicle to “aero” wipers. Which are better at removing water from the windscreen, especially while travelling quickly.
  • Try to fill up with petrol before you leave, as getting delayed in traffic may increase your fuel usage. Keep in mind that your fuel efficiency will be considerably worse with the lights, heater, and wipers on.
  • To learn about road closures, flooding, and forecasts, pay attention to local newscasts.
  • Bring a phone with you in case you run into any problems while travelling.
  • To ensure you have a sufficient degree of traction on the roadways. Make sure your tyres have the recommended legal tread depth. 

Speed up

  • Due to longer stopping distances in the rain, slow down and give the car in front of you more room. Use dipped headlights to make yourself more visible to other vehicles.
  • Keep your back fog lights off. They can block your brake lights and blind motorists following you. Watch out for big or moving objects that cause spray and impair visibility.
  • Keep your air conditioner running to prevent your windows from misting up. You can also read our comprehensive tips page to learn how to quickly demist your windscreen.
  • To learn about road closures, flooding, and forecasts, pay attention to local newscasts.
  • Keep the bonnet closed while you wait for help if you break down in a downpour to prevent the electrical system from getting wet.
  • Tyres losing contact with the road could result from driving too quickly through standing water.  You may be aquaplaning if your steering feels light all of a sudden. Take your foot off the gas, don’t brake, and let your speed drop until you can again fully control the steering to restore grip.
  • While driving over water, be mindful of other drivers and pedestrians by avoiding spraying them.
  • If you have to navigate these types of road conditions, read on for some tips on how to drive around deep puddles. Heavy rain can cause big puddles, regions of standing water, and even flooding.

Distances to stop in the rain

According to the Highway Code, stopping distances will at least double during rainy conditions. Because your tyres won’t have as much traction. To account for longer stopping distances. Slow down and give yourself extra room from the car in front — remember the two-second rule?

If it starts to rain, up it to four

How to drive safely through floods and water

Although “puddles” might conjure up images of little drops, some can grow into substantial amounts of water. If you drive through puddles and in heavy rain. You run the risk of seriously damaging your vehicle and incurring exorbitant repair costs.

The following are our top recommendations for driving in heavy rain:

  • Consider the depth of the water first, even if it means stopping your car and getting out (getting a little wet is much preferable to becoming stranded). You might not be able to see the bottom or determine the depth of the water if it is murky. Find a stick or other object to help you locate the lowest spot.
  • Always choose an alternative route to your destination if you have a suspicion that it is too deep or if you are unsure. Modern cars have good door seals that keep water out, but this can also make a car buoyant, which means that if the water gets too deep, it might start to float and leave you stranded. The water will ultimately get in, even in this situation.
  • Try to locate any things that could harm your car’s wheels, tyres, or suspension and leave you stuck in a puddle if the puddle is shallow enough to drive over. You can choose a secure route in this manner.
  • Keep your car in a low gear (the second is usually sufficient) and turn the engine up once you’ve checked you can drive through the puddle and decide on your route. This will let you keep moving through the puddle while also creating a bow wave to prevent becoming stuck.
  • If you can, take time after crossing the opposite side to let any extra water drain away and return to its source, especially if the puddle is on the deep side.
  • If you can’t, be mindful that the grip on the road ahead will be reduced when other vehicles drop fluid from the puddle along the Tarmac.
  • It’s usually a good idea to lightly brush your brake pedal on the exit to generate some friction and heat, which will help any extra moisture evaporate. Some high-end cars can detect when you’ve driven through a puddle and do it for you automatically, maintaining the best possible braking performance.
  • Although shallow puddles are not very difficult to cross, it’s still vital to keep in mind that grip levels could be lower on the opposite side.
  • Adapt your speed to the water’s depth as well.
  • Take greater time and caution when traversing a deeper impediment.
  • When getting your automobile fixed, a little bit of planning could save you a lot of time and money. And you should never try to drive through water that is moving quickly because you risk being swept away.

In case of a breakdown in the rain, what should I do?

If you become stuck in a downpour, keep the bonnet closed until the RAC arrives. To prevent the electrical system from getting wet, conduct a breakdown patrol. According to RAC statistics, breakdowns rise sharply during wet spells because the moisture wreaks havoc on older vehicles’ electrical and mechanical components.

Read more: Stay Safe & Dry: Top 10 Tips For Driving During The Rainy Season

Turn on the danger lights, call for help, and get the car looked at by a mechanic if your engine shuts out after driving in heavy rain. The water sucked into the engine during catastrophic floods primarily causes the engine to lock up (mechanics refer to this as an “air lock”), which can harm crucial engine components like piston connecting rods and valves.

This inevitably requires the installation of a new engine, but what most people don’t realise is that the owner will likely be responsible for paying the high garage bill unless they can convince their insurer, as in any accident, that their actions were not what caused the damage. Visit our blog page for further details on how to get ready for driving in heavy rain.

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