Simon Best's blog: 11 December 2012 - Why does it always rain on me?
11 December 2012
Simon Best is chief executive of the Institute of Advanced Motorists
In high winds and torrential rain, our advice is the same as for driving in all extreme weather conditions. Ask yourself, do you really need to make the journey?
Before setting off, think about where you are going - is there a route with less exposure to the weather, and less risk of fallen trees?
Whether you're visiting a friend or driving to work, make sure you give yourself extra time for your journey. Extreme weather can cause accidents so it's important to allow for any delays.
It's also worth doing a few checks on the car. Checking your windscreen wipers are clean and in good condition will ensure that you will have clear visibility out of your windscreen.
When there's torrential rain, the car can mist up within seconds. Set the heater or demister controls before you set off.
When you're on the road, remember to keep your speed down. At high speeds, you are more vulnerable to side winds.
It's important to give yourself more space so that you have more time to react to any changes in the traffic ahead. And be careful of flying debris - try and keep space beside your car - so you have room for avoid it.
Keep extra distance between you and the car in front. In the rain, stopping distances increase considerably. The extra distance will also prevent your visibility being worsened by the spray from the vehicle in front.
To get an idea of the wind strength, or where it is at it's worst, look further ahead to see how trees and bushes are being blown about.
If you see any water pooling or stream across the road, don't brake or accelerate onto it.
As you pass large vehicles and buildings, prepare yourself for the gust of wind.
Remember, in these weather conditions, cyclists and motorcyclists are going to be particularly affected. Especially when there are gusts of wind - give them extra room.
As always, look well ahead and watch what is happening to other vehicles. This will give you a good indication of where they are affected and will give you a warning.
Winds can be gusty and not necessarily constant. Drive as if you're dealing with gusts.
Strong winds are not constant - they come in sudden blasts, so even when it seems quiet, don't underestimate the power of this weather.
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