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Roads and Vehicles

Advice for driving on flooded roads

  • Driving in rain will double your stopping distance meaning you are at greater risk of collision.
  • Driving diesel vehicles in pools of water can cause irreparable damage to the engine. The ‘engine breather’ is situated at the bottom of the engine, which can intake standing water easily.
  • Inconsiderate driving is also an issue during times of significant rainfall. Motorists need to be mindful when driving in wet-weather conditions, especially in urban areas when pedestrians can be affected by splashing from surface water.
  • This type of incident is an example of driving without due consideration for other road users – and can throw water onto pavements, soaking pedestrians or cyclists. You could face a fine and 3-9 points if the police believe you were driving without reasonable consideration for other road users.
  • Motorists should ensure that they maintain a safe distance and slow to a safe speed, as there will be a reduction in tyre grip.
  • If steering is suddenly unresponsive then it probably means that water is preventing the 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 difficult to see and be seen. Drivers should therefore keep well back from the vehicle in front, and maintain a safe distance.
  • On flooded roads, don’t attempt to cross the water if it is too deep. 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, normally nearest the curb, and remember to test your brakes after you drive through water by pressing down on the brake pedal gently.

Advice for driving in icy and snowy conditions

  • You MUST be able to see, so clear all snow and ice from all your windows
  • Ensure that lights are clean and number plates are clearly visible and legible
  • Make sure the mirrors are clear and the windows are demisted thoroughly
  • Remove all snow that might fall off into the path of other road users check your planned route
  • Drive with care, even if the roads have been treated
  • Keep well back from the road user in front as stopping distances can be ten times greater than on dry roads
  • Take care when overtaking vehicles spreading salt or other de-icer, particularly if you are riding a motorcycle or cycle
  • Watch out for snowploughs which may throw out snow on either side. Do not overtake them unless the lane you intend to use has been cleared
  • Be prepared for the road conditions to change over relatively short distances
  • Listen to travel bulletins and take note of variable message signs that may provide information about weather, road and traffic conditions ahead
  • Drive particularly slowly on bends where loss of control is more likely. Brake progressively on the straight before you reach a bend. Having slowed down, steer smoothly round the bend, avoiding sudden actions
  • Check your grip on the road surface when there is snow or ice by choosing a safe place to brake gently. If the steering feels unresponsive this may indicate ice and your vehicle losing its grip on the road. When travelling on ice, tyres make virtually no noise.

Motorcycle Safety

There are many more cars, vans and lorries on our roads than motorcycles and drivers’ attitudes towards motorcyclists vary considerably. Most fail, often unintentionally, to anticipate the behaviour of a motorcyclist or accept the fact that they are actually on the road.

Sadly motorcyclists are 45 times more likely to be killed than a car driver and the figures are rising. As a motorist, you can help lower this statistic by becoming more motorcycle aware.

  • Be alert – motorcycles can be on any road at any time so always be on the look out for them, particularly at junctions or when overtaking or changing lanes
  • Assume that a motorcycle is much closer than it actually is – because of its size, it may look further away
  • Don’t forget your shoulder checks – regularly look in your mirrors and over your shoulder in the blind spot before merging or changing lanes
  • Keep your windows clean – motorcycles can be masked by outside objects such as bushes and fences so dirty windows won’t help with visibility
  • Don’t tailgate – drive at a safe distance and allow more stopping distance behind a motorcycle
  • Give motorcycles enough room. They may be smaller but when overtaking, give them as much space as you would a car, they need a full lane to ride
  • It’s difficult to judge a motorcycle’s speed and it may seem to be moving faster than it really is
  • Motorcyclists will change their position within a lane for a reason not to show off or annoy you. Sometimes they need to be seen more easily or they have to deal with debris, passing vehicles or weather conditions
  • Be extra vigilant in the dark – it can be more difficult to see a motorcyclist at night, particularly if it’s in front of a larger vehicle

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