Tips for driving in severe weather

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Portsmouth and the surrounding area is set to be hit by heavy rain and strong winds later. 

The weather is expected to take a turn for the worse around the time of the evening commute. 

Tips for driving in severe weather. Picture Allan Hutchings

Tips for driving in severe weather. Picture Allan Hutchings

With a yellow weather warning in place for the area from 1pm to 11.59pm and the Met Office warning of spray and flooding on roads. 

So if you are caught on the road when the rain turns heavy, here are the Met Office's tips for driving in sever weather. 

READ MORE: Flood alert issued for Havant as heavy rain and large waves forecast

Choices and planning ahead

- Even moderate rain can reduce your ability to see and be seen. A good rule of thumb is ‘if it’s time for your wipers, it’s time to slow down’.

- If heavy downpours are expected, avoid starting your journey until it clears.

- If you can, choose main roads, where you are less likely to be exposed to fallen branches and debris and flooding.

- Use dipped headlights if visibility is seriously reduced.

- Gusts of wind can unsettle vehicles – grip your steering wheel firmly with both hands. This is particularly important when planning to overtake.

- Keep an eye out for gaps between trees, buildings or bridges over a river or railway – these are some of the places you are more likely to be exposed to side winds. Ensure that you maintain enough room either side of your vehicle so you can account for it being blown sideways.

- Roads will be more slippery than usual in wet weather – be sure to give yourself more time to react when approaching a hazard. Increase your following gap to at least four seconds from the moving traffic in front.

- Keep your eyes peeled on the road at all times as spray from other vehicles can suddenly reduce your visibility. Remember it affects others too, so anticipate their actions and be prepared.

READ MORE: Hour by hour forecast as heavy rain and 50mph winds to batter Portsmouth

What to do when the road is flooded

- Never drive through flood water. Just 30cm of water can float an average sized car – less if you have a small car and it’s impossible to tell the depth of water just by looking at it.

- The number one cause of death during flooding is driving through flood water. Don’t risk it. Turn around and find an alternative route.

Keep an eye out for cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians

- Remember to give vulnerable road users including cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians more room than usual. They are more likely to be blown around by side winds – always keep a safe distance.