Driving in Thunderstorms

Much of the country is braced for thunderstorms, gusty winds and torrential downpours as Met Eireann has issued  yellow and orange warnings writes Geraldine Herbert

Driving in Thunderstorms
1) Slow down, due to the dangerous driving conditions.
2) Take special care when driving behind goods vehicles as they generate a considerable amount of spray which reduces your visibility.
3) Allow extra space between you and cyclists and motorcyclists.
4) Turn on your headlights so other drivers can see you.
5) Do not tailgate and always allow more room than normal between your car and the car ahead.
6) Hail storms can be extremely dangerous to drive in reducing your ability to see and be seen, if your visibility is compromised, stop and pull over to a safe place and remain inside the vehicle.

Aquaplaning
Be aware of the danger of aquaplaning especially on roads with speed limits of 100 km/h and 120 km/h.

What is aquaplaning?
Imagine a stiletto heel and a wide flat heel on a shoe both standing in water, while the slim heel of a stiletto can breakthrough through a film of water to contact the ground, a wide heel can slip. Not having enough tyre depth on your tyre is like reducing your stiletto to a flat shoe.

If you do aquaplane
1. Don’t panic. Try to stay calm – aquaplaning only lasts for a second or two and in most cases, the best course of action is to do nothing.
2. Do not brake or turn the steering wheel suddenly.
3. Ease your foot off the accelerator until the car slows and you can feel the road again.
4. Leave the steering set straight ahead.

Heavy rain and floods
1) Drive on the highest section of the road and don’t set off if a vehicle is approaching you
2) Leave time and space to avoid swamping other cars and pedestrians
3) Drive slowly and keep going once you have started – make sure you have a clear run. In a manual car, keep the revs high by “slipping the clutch” (which means the clutch is not fully engaged) all the time you are in the water
4) If you can’t see where you are going to come out of the water, such as when approaching flooding on a bend, think twice about starting to drive into it
5) In deep water never take your foot off the accelerator, as this could allow water to travel up the exhaust pipe
6) Once you’re out of the water, dry the brakes before you need them. The best way is to lightly apply the brake as you drive along for a few seconds, after checking nothing is following you too closely.

 

Geraldine Herbert

15th June 2020

Author: Geraldine Herbert

Contributing Editor and Motoring Columnist for the Sunday Independent and editor of wheelsforwomen. Geraldine is also a regular contributor to Good Housekeeping (UK) and to RTÉ Radio One, Newstalk, TodayFM and BBC Radio. You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1

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