Tag Archive | "bad weather"

Driving Through Floods.


Britain has experienced, if that’s the right word, the most rain in 248 years and it’s not showing any sign of stopping. This presents more and, for many, new challenges when driving on our soaked highways. Here’s some advice for dealing with any flooded roads drivers might find themselves encountering.

For starters and rather obviously, it is best to avoid flooded roads altogether. Basically, if a driver knows a road is at risk he shouldn’t go down it at all. Nevertheless, we must all prepare for the unexpected. Essentially, for most cars except massive 4×4’s, fifteen centimetres is about as much as the average car can manage.

The answer is to get out and check. The water will usually be most shallow on the crown of the road. If it is deep there then it will be deeper along the sides. Try to establish visual markers; the height of the water against traffic signs for example, or indeed, stranded vehicles. If in doubt, don’t.

When it comes to road speed through water then less is definitely more in safety terms. Enter the water at no more than four or five miles per hour. Tick-over in first gear may be faster than this so there’s a need to slip the clutch in order not to go too quickly. Keeping the engine revving prevents water sneakily entering via the exhaust pipe.

It is necessary to go this slowly because the car needs to push the water aside, creating a depression in front to prevent the engine sucking in water through its air intake. The faster you go the more the water is disturbed then a bow wave is created and there is more likelihood that the engine will flood. If there are other cars coming in the opposite direction then wait for a turn. Their actions could result in your engine becoming flooded.

Once through, gently apply the brakes to remove excess water from the pads. If the engine sounds odd then it might have swallowed some water. Driving a misfiring car could cause more damage. Stop immediately and seek help. Ideally of course, avoid driving altogether if your district is afflicted with floods; but if you must go out then try to remember these wise words.

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Is Your Journey Worth It?


The other day Motor Blogger had to drive to the coast. Fortunately it was in a Jaguar XF (pictured) because the weather was foul. At times the rain was torrential, necessitating a very careful approach to driving.

By the time you read this the UK will have experienced one of those storms we see only about once a decade. Nevertheless, people still have to go about their business but, in severe weather, it is essential to pose the question to yourself – is my journey worth the risk?

If you really have to go out on the roads then there are certain things that can be done to at least counter in a small way the effects of driving under the influences of rain and wind.

First off – it is crucial to plan the journey. Is there a route with less exposure to the weather and less risk of fallen trees? Choose a sheltered route if you have the option. Strong winds are not constant, they are usually gusty so ensure you keep a firmer grip than usual on the steering wheel.

As you may have found in the past when crossing high bridges and the like, there is often the risk of crosswinds. It’s possible to get the same effect from overtaking high-sided vehicles. There can sometimes be a strong gust as you clear the lee of the lorry.

Remember too that others are suffering the same issues. Give cyclists, motorcyclists, lorries and buses more room than usual. They get blown around by side winds easily. It’s not even unheard of for pedestrians to be blown about or even blown into the path of on-coming motors.

Watch trees and bushes on the roadside – their branches can show you how strong the wind is and what direction it is blowing. BY looking well ahead, you don’t need to take your eye off the road and you can see any windy patches before you get to them at which point speed can be lowered until the vehicle is slow enough to cope with the gusts and associated handling issues. Wind can get under a car and reduce its handling and braking significantly. Keep an eye on what is happening to other vehicles – seeing when they are affected will give you advanced warning.

Heavy rain obscures the view, often despite the best efforts of windscreen wipers. As MB found the other day, there comes a point when it becomes prudent to stop at the first safe opportunity.

With wind and rain comes debris. Leaves make a road slippery and branches or even fallen trees are an obvious hazard. The trouble is – a driver doesn’t know they are there. All that can be done is to be aware and anticipate the worst. Or not make the journey at all!

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