First the snow…next the wet. Met Éireann is predicting localised flooding, particularly in Leinster, in the coming days as the snow brought by ‘The Beast from the East’ continues to melt. Even if your area escapes actual flooding, you can still expect abnormal amounts of water on the roads. This can make driving conditions dangerous, so we’re bringing you the following advice on how to stay safe on wet roads:
Check your vehicle
Before you set off at all, check your vehicle. Are your tyres in good condition? Make sure they are of the correct thread depth, and properly inflated and aligned. Remember that winter tyres are specifically designed for cold and wet conditions. Consider fitting them if you haven’t already done so.
Also check your wipers. It may not actually be raining, but if there is a lot of standing water on the road, you can expect some of this to be splashed onto your windscreen by other vehicles.
While driving – slow down!
It may be obvious, but this is the most important advice we can give. It takes longer to stop or adjust your direction on wet roads. Slow down, and maintain proper following distance behind the vehicle in front of you. The usual advice is to follow the two second rule, but you need to increase this in excessively wet conditions.
Stay back from larger vehicles
Realistically, if you’re on a busier road, traffic may be still be close together. However, you still need to keep back a good distance if the vehicle in front is a larger one such as a lorry or bus. This is because the spray thrown up by their larger tyres can reduce your vision. If you do get the opportunity to pass, do so quickly and safely.
If you happen to skid
A skid can happen to even the best drivers. If your vehcile does skid, remember not to slam on the brakes. Also, do not pump the brakes if you have an anti-lock braking system (ABS). Instead, steer your vehicle in the direction of the skid, and apply the brakes firmly.
Dealing with hydroplaning
Hydroplaning is very similar to skidding, but not exactly the same. It occurs as water on the road creates a barrier between the road surface and your tyres. This can cause you to lose traction and glide (‘hyroplane’) across the road. If this happens, take your foot off the accelerator, and hold the steering wheel in place. Put your gearstick in neutral, and ideally, let your vehicle slow down by itself. If you do need to brake, do so lightly, not firmly.
Don’t try to drive through deep water
If you do encounter flooding, don’t try to drive through deep water. Take no chances if you’re unsure of the depth, and instead turn back and find an alternate route. Taking a risk and becoming stranded in water can lead to serious damage.
Hopefully, following our advice will help you to stay safe on wet roads. But remember, if an accident does occur, your van insurance is there to protect you – and we are the leading providers of van insurance in Ireland.
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