The Met Office has issued a red weather warning across parts of the UK and unfortunately, the adverse weather is set to stay for the foreseeable future.

In light of this, the automotive experts at Xcite Car Leasing have shared essential tips to help drivers stay safe driving in stormy weather, as well as how to avoid getting fined.

Storm Babet: Five Driving Tips to Keep Safe and Avoid a £5,000 Fine

1. Splashing Pedestrians During Wet Weather Can Result in a £5,000 Fine

With a lot of surface water on the road due to excessive amounts of rain, puddles are likely to form across many roads in the UK. While you may not be able to avoid going through these, drivers should take care and go through slowly to avoid causing damage to their cars and also to avoid a fine of up to £5,000 for splashing pedestrians on roads or pavements.

The Road Traffic Act of 1988 says to avoid ‘careless, and inconsiderate driving’ where a vehicle is driven ‘without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or place’. Avoiding this guidance is an offence. The Crown Prosecution also highlights ‘driving through a puddle causing pedestrians to be splashed’ as inconsiderate driving, but this can depend on individual circumstances.

You can be fined £100 for these instances and if you’re taken to the small claims court you could end up paying as much as £5,000!

2. Keep Your EV Battery Topped Up – the Rainy Weather Can Have an Impact on Your Vehicle Range

It’s a well-known fact that weather conditions can affect your EV range. It’s said your EV can use around 10% extra energy in colder temperatures, and the weather is expected to plummet in the UK again.

Wet and rainy weather is no exception, too. Rainy conditions increase the rolling resistance of the vehicle, meaning it requires more power, and thus more charge, to keep a car moving through standing water.

Charging your vehicle in the rain is completely safe to do so, however, due to the chargers being waterproof. But it’s best to make sure to keep your vehicle fully charged, in case your journeys take longer due to disruptions.

3. Driving through Puddles Can Flood Your Engine and Cause You £4,000 Worth of Damage

It might look like a small puddle you’re driving through but this can cause damage to your car if the body of water is deeper than you think. If water gets into your engine or the electronics of your vehicle this can cause damage, which could be a lot more hassle than altering your route and adding a few extra minutes on. A new engine can cost upwards of £1,500, depending on your make and model. Wading through water can also cause the car to stall, compromising valves and rods which can make for an even more expensive repair bill.

Take time to assess flooding and decide whether your car could comfortably make it through the puddle without damage. If you don’t want to risk it, it’s best to avoid if you can, whether going around it if safe to do so, or changing your route.

If you do go through the puddle, go through slowly. If you can, stop or slow down after going through to let the excessive water drain, and make sure to test your brake pedals after you have emerged.

4. Avoid a £2,500 Fine by Making Sure Your Wipers are Working

The spray off other vehicles could also affect your vision on roads that have a lot of surface water – keeping your distance can combat this. You should make sure your windscreen wipers are working, to avoid a £2,500 fine and three points on your license under the Highway Code’s ‘Using a vehicle in a dangerous condition’ offence.

The Highway Code recommends keeping ‘well back from vehicles’ during wet weather conditions. The stopping distance will at least double when driving on wet surfaces, as the tyre traction is reduced. It’s best to ease off the accelerator and slow down at a gradual pace. Keeping a distance will also leave more time for you to react to other road users, who may brake suddenly.

Make sure your headlights are working fully also, and that you can see more than 100 metres in front. This can also prevent a similar fine as above.

5. Watch Where You Park During Windy Weather, to Avoid Damage Caused to Your Vehicle by Trees

Heavy winds can cause problems even when your car is parked, due to trees or lamposts coming down and causing damage to your vehicle.  Try to park away from these to avoid them falling onto your car, whether this be branches from a tree or parts of a lamppost. Leaves on your vehicle can cause damage to your paintwork at this time of year.

When driving in strong winds make sure you hold on to the steering wheel firmly to make sure you have control of your vehicle, with gusts having more of an effect on handling at higher speeds. Also be careful when you’re overtaking bigger vehicles such as lorries and caravans as high-sided vehicles are more exposed to windy conditions. This also applies to cyclists, who can move out into the road if the wind catches them.

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