As the UK prepares for Storm Dudley and Storm Eunice to hit before the weekend, the Met Office had issued advice to motorists on how to drive safely in bad weather conditions.
On Wednesday February 16, winds of up to 55mph are predicted in some parts of Derbyshire thanks to Storm Dudley with Eunice set to follow on Friday.
Friday’s amber warning for wind says that there is a good chance that flying debris could result in a danger to life. The Met Office also warns of road and bridge closures.
According to the Met Office, 9 out of 10 weather-related deaths and serious injuries happen on the roads during the rain and so taking extra care could cause a serious accident happening on the roads.
The Met Office suggests that if a heavy downpour is expected, that motorists wait until it has cleared before starting a journey.
It also warns that even moderate rain can reduce your ability to see and be seen on the road and therefore, it is important that you think about speed.
The Met Office says that a good rule of thumb is that if it is time to put your wipers on, it is also a good time to slow down.
Motorists are advised to stick to main roads because they are less likely to be blocked by fallen branches or debris and less likely to flood.
The Met Office also says that dipped headlights are best if visibility is reduced on the road.
Gusts of wind can unsettle vehicles and so the Met Office suggests that motorist grip the steering wheel with both hands – especially when planning to overtake another vehicle.
Side winds could pose problems for drivers over the next few days so be aware of gaps between trees, buildings and bridges.
With rain, roads will be a lot more slippery than usual which means drivers may need more time to react to hazards.
The Met Office recommends that motorists increase their following gap to four seconds from the moving traffic in front during wet weather.
It also recommends being mindful of spray from other vehicles which can suddenly affect visibility.
The Met Office says that driving through flood water is the leading cause of death during flooding. It advises that if a road is flooded, motorists turn around and find another route.
It says: “The public are advised to stay away from swollen rivers and not to walk or drive through flood water.
“Although the water may seem shallow, just 12 inches (30cm) of moving water can float your car, potentially taking it to deeper water from which you may need rescuing.
“Flood water also contains hidden hazards which can damage your car, and just an egg-cupful of water sucked into your car’s engine will lead to severe damage.”
A flood warning has been issued for England by the Environment Agency due to Storm Dudley.
Driving in snow and ice
There is a chance that Storm Eunice could bring snow to Derbyshire on Friday, February 18, meaning that motorists should be mindful of how to drive safely in colder conditions.
The Met Office says to stick to the main roads where you can. Motorists should drive with care and respect the road conditions wherever you drive, but if you cannot avoid driving on a minor road, take extra care.
It advises to only travel if really necessary. Snow ploughs are unable to get through if the road or motorway is full of stationary traffic, so do not make journeys unless completely necessary to give National Highways and local authorities the space they need to help you on your journey.
Avoid steep hills and exposed roads hills and exposed areas are likely to present more challenging driving conditions in snow and ice.
The Met Office listed the following useful tips for driving in snow:
- Accelerate gently, using low revs. You may need to take off in second gear to avoid skidding
- You may need 10 times the normal gap between your car and the car in front
- Try not to brake suddenly – it may lock up your wheels and you could skid further
- Be extra cautious at road junctions where road markings may not be visible