As the Aussie storm season approaches, all drivers need to be aware of the dangers of wet weather driving. Storms can appear unexpectedly and at some point, you will have the challenge of navigating through one.
We have created a list of tips to help you stay safe on the roads this storm season:
1. Make sure your Car is Storm Ready
- If your car is due for a service, don’t delay it! Breaking down is inconvenient at the best of times, for it to happen in a storm is not only unfortunate but dangerous for you and oncoming traffic.
- Make sure your tyres are at sufficient pressure and tread. This could be anywhere from 27 to 35psi and a tyre tread of 3.0mm (for a standard car). Check your owner’s manual for the specific tyre pressure required for your car. When driving in the rain, it is important to have as much grip as possible; bald tyres provide no traction, and you have a higher risk of hydroplaning.
- Ensure that your car’s headlights are in working order. Faulty headlights not only put you at risk due to low visibility, but other drivers may struggle to see your vehicle.
2. Plan Ahead
- If you have a long drive ahead, make sure to plan your trip in advance. Always take into consideration the weather forecast and traffic updates as you may have to reschedule or wait until it is safe.
- Pack an emergency kit with food and water as well as a first-aid kit that is easily accessible. See what you should put in your emergency kit here.
- Allow for extra travel time. There may be slow-moving traffic or an incident on the road that could extend your trip.
3. When Driving Through a Storm
- Never drive through floodwaters or flooded roads, even if you think your 4WD is up to the challenge. Floodwaters are extremely dangerous, sometimes having low depths and undercurrents strong enough to sweep away large vehicles. However, if you do manage to find yourself stuck in floodwaters, call the State Emergency Service on 132 500 immediately.
- Although they may seem harmless, you should avoid driving through puddles or large bodies of water, especially on unfamiliar roads. They can be deceivingly deep, hiding potholes or debris which can severely damage your car or cause an accident.
- Maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. Stopping your car will be more difficult when driving in the rain and requires a greater braking distance. The Queensland Government advises drivers to keep a four-second gap between your car and other vehicles.
- Pull over if the rain is too heavy and you are having difficulty seeing the road ahead. Make sure to put your hazard lights on and make sure that you’re safe from other traffic and wait until the weather subsides and it is safe to drive again.
Stay safe this storm season.