Driving in bad weather

To stay safe on the road, it's important that you pay attention to changing conditions and drive accordingly.

driving in bad weather

Did you know that you need twice the usual stopping distance when the road is wet?

Heavy rain and flooding

  • wet roads mean your stopping distance will double: make sure you keep a safe distance from the car in front and slow to a safe speed, as your tyres will have less grip than usual 
  • your steering may become suddenly unresponsive because water is stopping your tyres from gripping the road surface properly: brake slowly and gently in order to slow down
  • rain and spray from other vehicles may make it hard to see and be seen: keep well back from the vehicle in front  
  • don't attempt to drive through deep floodwaters: in shallower water, drive slowly in first gear and keep the engine speed high by slipping the clutch. This will also stop you from stalling
  • avoid the deepest water, which is normally nearest the kerb
  • test your brakes after you drive through water: press down on the brake pedal gently

Ice and snow

  • snow and ice can make driving treacherous: try to man"uvre gently and avoid sudden braking or acceleration
  • drive in the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin, and allow extra space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front
  • it can take 10 times longer to stop in icy conditions than in dry, fine weather: drive slowly 
  • if you do have to brake: get into a lower gear earlier than normal, allow your speed to fall and use the brake pedal gently
  • if you start to skid: ease off the accelerator, but do not brake suddenly
  • prepare before you set off on your journey: make sure you clear all windscreens and windows; tell someone where you are going; make sure that you keep essential items in your car in case of a breakdown such as - a blanket, some warm clothing, a hot drink and a torch are a good idea 
  • winter sun can be blinding, so always keep a pair of sunglasses in the car
  • on long journeys ensure you take regular breaks - tiredness can kill
  • check the condition of your vehicle before you set out
  • make sure your lights, mirrors, windows and roof are clean and free from snow and ice: snow can move off your roof into the path of the vehicle behind you 
  • keep your battery charged, add anti-freeze to the radiator during winter months and make sure your windscreen wipers are in good working order
  • make sure your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure and check them regularly


  • drive slowly using dipped headlights
  • use fog lights if visibility is seriously reduced, but remember to switch them off when it improves
  • keep a safe distance behind the vehicle in front
  • be aware of other drivers who don’t use headlights, as they will be harder to see  
  • don’t hang onto the tail lights of the vehicle in front - getting too close can give you a false sense of security  
  • avoid speeding up too quickly, even if the fog seems to be clearing, as you could find yourself in the middle of dense fog
  • if visibility is less than 30 metres, drive at less than 20 mph

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