Take a rain check

Road safety charity the IAM is offering weekly motoring tips from Britain’s top advanced driver, Peter Rodger. This week, he advises on preparing yourself and your car for the April showers.

Before you set off, set your heater controls – rain can makes the windows mist up in seconds. You don’t want to be fiddling with controls when you should be concentrating on the road.

See and be seen. Put your lights on – as a rule of thumb, whenever you need to use your wipers you should also turn your dipped headlights on, and before overtaking put your wipers on their fastest setting.

Keep your eyes on the road ahead and plan your driving so that you can brake, accelerate and steer smoothly – harsh manoeuvres will unbalance the car.

Slow down. In the rain stopping distance is at least doubled. Giving yourself more space also helps to avoid spray, especially when following a large vehicle.

If you have cruise control, avoid using it on wet roads – you need to pay more attention to the road surface conditions and alter your speed gently.

Strong winds can also unsettle your car and even change your direction of travel. Grip your steering wheel firmly and also be ready for the effects of the wind on other road users, particularly motorcyclists and flat-sided vehicles like lorries.

Rodger said: “A suddenly very wet road surface increases the chances of slipping when braking or steering, which is a problem not just for motorists, but for the cyclists and motorcyclists in among them too.

“When driving in wet conditions remember that stopping distances will increase, and visibility will be reduced. Drop your speed and give yourself more time to slow down.