Met Éireann has issued a status orange weather warning ahead of #StormDiana which is set to hit today. It’s predicted to bring gales of up to 130km/h, heavy rain and the possibility of local flooding in different areas. So here are a few tips we thought might be helpful for driving in a storm, as high winds can result in difficulty steering, debris and fallen branches and trees.
What kind of car do you drive? The size and shape of your vehicle can have an impact on how the wind effects your driving. Larger vehicles with higher sides are much more likely to be effected by crosswinds. So if you’re driving an SUV or MPV (people carrier) it is important to be aware of your surroundings and ready to act quickly. Be prepared when passing exposed stretches of road, bridges, gaps in cover and when passing out trucks on the road, as these create conditions perfect for sudden gusts of wind to catch you off guard.
Hold your steering wheel with a firm grip and be prepared to correct the course of your vehicle. If you have it, avoid using cruise control so you are more in control of your vehicle’s speed – make sure to reduce your speed as well and take extra care when overtaking. Allow plenty of space between yourself and pedestrians or cyclists as they may be blown out in front of your path. Try and avoid wooded areas, as the likelihood of debris damaging your car is greater.
Here are 7 tips on how to be prepared for the elements that may occur:
1. Prepare your Car: Make sure your wipers and headlights are working and are on at all times to ensure high visibility.
2. Focus on the Road: When the rain first hits the road it mixes with oil build up on the road, this is highly dangerous so be careful when using the roads.
3. Slow down Sooner: The rain will make the roads wetter and more slippery, which makes it take longer to come to a full stop. Begin the braking process earlier and slower than usual to give yourself additional time to halt the car sliding. This reduces the chances of the vehicle hydroplaning.
4. Keep Calm: No matter how safely you drive, there is always a chance the car will end up hydroplaning. If this happens, don't panic and slam on the brakes or spin the wheel, since this could cause the car to spin out. Slowly take your foot off the brake pedal as you calmly keep steering straight and the car will eventually regain traction.
5. Avoid Puddles: If you approach a puddle, check to see if it approaches the bottom of the car doors. Don't take any unnecessary chances with deep water and either drive around it or find a different route. If you must drive through it, proceed slowly and cautiously. Getting any water in the engine can risk damage to the electronic cooling systems.
6. Steer clear of traffic: If there is considerable traffic on the road around you, maintain the three-second rule. If possible, extend this to five seconds. Stay away from buses and trucks, since their tires will spray up a considerable amount of water in their wake and reduce your visibility.
7. Pull Over: If the rain becomes too torrential to see anything, pull over and wait it out. The safest form of driving is not driving at all, and in situations where visibility drops to near zero, there's no need to risk trying to reach your destination.
Listen to the weather reports and stay updated. If the weather is supposed to get worse, listen to the wise, wise words of Teresa Mannion and “Don’t make unnecessary Journeys”!!