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At this time of year, it’s time to get prepared to brave the elements behind the wheel, and with heavy rain forecast this week, our Top Tips Tuesday is focusing on the precautions drivers should take when heading out in the rain and during periods when flooding could occur.
A lot of rain-related breakdowns can be avoided if drivers take the time to follow some simple precautions. Breakdowns are often caused by motorists driving through deep standing water which can lead to catastrophic engine failure that can be extremely expensive to fix. Engine failure is typically caused by water being sucked into the engine and damaging important engine components. This usually results in a new engine having to be fitted, which you as the owner will more than likely have to pay for.
Follow Trusted Dealers’ tips below to help prepare you and your car for the wet weather ahead:
1. Consider if your journey is necessary, if it isn’t then it might be worth waiting until the rain has subsided, particularly if you are putting other passengers at risk.
2. In the event of heavy rain, plan your journey in advance to avoid areas prone to flooding, and factor in some extra time to allow for slower speeds and potential traffic congestion so you do not become stressed behind the wheel. Let a friend or family member know of your planned route and expected arrival time.
3. Make some essential checks to your car to include making sure your wiper blades are fully functional, you have a full tank of petrol as using your heater and lights for longer periods of time in adverse weather conditions will use up more fuel.
4. Carry a mobile phone so that you can get in touch with a breakdown company or a friend or family member easily should you get into difficulty. When possible, travel with someone else in the car for added safety.
5. When out on the road, use dipped headlights so other drivers can spot you more easily, and take care to avoid using rear fog lights and they can shield your brake lights and dazzle drivers behind you.
6. Reduce your speed and leave more than the usual amount of space between you and the car in front to account for a longer stopping distance – remember the 2 second rule then double or treble it depending on the severity of the conditions.
7. If you have to drive through standing water, your tyres could lose contact with the road. If you find the steering suddenly feels light you could be aquaplaning. To regain grip gently ease off the accelerator, avoid braking and let your speed reduce until you gain full control of the steering again.
8. If you do breakdown in torrential rain, avoid opening the bonnet to avoid the electrical system of the car getting soaked. Sit tight and wait inside your car for help to arrive.