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Adapting To Driving In Increasingly Adverse Weather Britain

17th December 2013
According to the Met Office, 2012 was the second wettest on record in the UK with a total rainfall of 1,330.7 mm. The figures accompany analysis, which suggests that the frequency of extreme rainfall in the UK may be increasing and the UK should expect to see more incidents of extreme wet weather in the future.

Throughout 2012, many thousands of flood warnings were issued around the UK and warnings to motorists over the risks of driving in torrential rain and gale force winds. Heavy rain and flooding has grown to become one of the most common occurrences leading to loss of visibility and vehicle control to be found in accident claims.

Yet, time and time again, it has been noted by the police and motoring organisations that far too many people fail to adjust their driving habits in bad weather and continue to speed, lane change or overtake with reckless abandon.

Yet while it appears that some drivers simply don’t know how to drive appropriately in the rain, on many occasions, compensation claims statements can often reveal that there’s likely to be two types of drivers whose contrasting reaction to severe weather can be the cause of increased danger to other road users.

The first category of potential hazardous driving behaviour is the reckless driver who simply appears to have decided to ignore the weather conditions – a variation on their usual lack of awareness or concern for other vehicles on the road.

They tend to continue to drive at or above the maximum legal speed limit on dual carriageways or the motorway believing that their advanced computerised braking / sensor systems, tyre technologies and driving experience can deal with the slight inconvenience of a wet road. It’s often the case that this types of driver will actually increase speed in order to try and arrive at their destination more quickly and avoid having to drive in the rain.

The reverse reaction is for the sudden emergence of the excessively cautious driver, who reacts by overestimating the danger of weather conditions and drives at unreasonably low speeds. Where there is indeed, excessively gusting winds, torrential rain and flooding visible on the road, the requirement to drastically cut speed is essential.

However, when adverse weather limits the number of available traffic lanes often following heavy rain, an overly timid driver can cause traffic to tailbacks and increase the risk of a rear end collision, especially as the lethal result of sudden braking on a wet road where dropped oil is present and risen to the surface.

Avoiding an accident in extreme weather is best achieved by a combination of adopting a much slower speed (matching general traffic flow), keeping focused on the road, anticipating and not suddenly avoiding flooded areas at the side of the road),  maintaining a greater distance to the vehicle ahead, switching on dipped headlights, correctly demisting widows and gently braking where necessary, etc.