On average, it takes around 30-40 driving lessons for a learner to pass their practical test, which depending on how many hours of lessons a week you do, is anywhere from three to seven months of learning. During these months, it is likely that you would have experienced little concerning taking on driving in different weather conditions. However, living in the UK means ever-changing weather conditions will impact the way you drive, and it is vital to understand how to adapt your driving to the season.
How To Take On Driving In Different Weather Conditions
Once you have passed your practical test and get on the roads independantly, it is your responsibility to remain safe and act responsibly. As a new driver, your first time experiencing trickier weather conditions such as ice or heavy rain can be a little intimidating, but similar to any other new task, it will become considerably easier with practice.
If you are unsure of how to tackle various weather conditions, not to worry, we have devised the main points to remain safe in every possible situation you may be faced with.
Warm, Sunny Weather
There is nothing better than a glorious summers day, which luckily, we’ve had our fair share of over the past few months! Warm, sunny weather is rarely considered a dangerous condition to drive in, which although there are considerably fewer risks, there are still possible dangers you must prepare yourself for.
Strong glare on the windscreen makes visibility incredibly reduced, making it difficult to see clearly the view in front. As soon as you notice a glare appearing, ensure that you drop down your sun visor in a position that works best for you. Always keep a spare pair of sunglasses in your glove box just in case the sun is low, and your sun visor is not doing a sufficient job.
As mentioned previously, glares can make it hard to see the vehicle in front. If this is the case, reduce your speed and drop back a little until you are a safe distance apart and feel comfortable that you would be able to brake in time if you notice the vehicle in front slowing down.
Unfortunately, we have been spoilt this year with the weather, and we are all now preparing ourselves for the glum, cold and rainy weather the UK is known for. Rain causes the sky to become darker, which means even if it is daytime, it is always recommended to switch on your dipped headlights to ensure you are visible to all other road users. Always regularly check the condition of your windscreen wipers, wear and tear cause wipers to crack, split or start to come away from the blade, this is vital for your visibility of other vehicles.
The main tip to stay safe while driving in the rain is to slow down, take your time and don’t rush. Take on junction, roundabouts and tight corners with care. The rain alone will make road surfaces slippery; however, this is dramatically increased if there is any oil or residue previously left on the road. Heavy rainfall also camouflages potholes and road damage, again another reason to take extra care.
Cities such as Milton Keynes are full of roundabouts, so if you are taking driving lessons in Milton Keynes, it is more than likely our instructor will stress the fact that you must take your time approaching the roundabout and turning.
Snow And Ice
Although it is rare that we experience heavy snow, during the Winter, we regularly wake up to icy conditions making road surfaces full of potential dangers. If you plan to take a trip in cold conditions, there are several different preparation tasks you must complete before you set off for your journey.
Firstly, all ice and snow must be cleared from your vehicle. Although this sounds obvious, you’d be surprised how many road users simply use their windscreen wipers to remove enough snow to see the road ahead and then leave. Rather than taking chances, leave a little earlier than normal. Start by defrosting your vehicle and while this is happening, start to clear all ice and snow using an ice scraper or shovel. Ensure that all headlights are entirely clear as if they are covered in snow, other road users will not be able to see your lights. Never use boiling water to melt ice, it will crack your windscreen.
Now it’s the tricky part; you must drive and manoeuvre on the ice. Speeding up, braking, steering and changing gear must all be done slowly and gently. All aspects of driving are accentuated in the snow and ice, your tyres will not grip to the road surface sufficiently and will lack friction. It is recommended to move off in second gear when driving on ice while slowly easing off the clutch; this will reduce the likelihood of wheel spin.
Dense fog is most common in the mornings during the Winter, however, although is rare, is most likely the hardest condition to drive in. Fog makes it almost impossible to see ahead, which makes the condition incredibly dangerous. Even in a slight mist, you must use your dipped headlights. If fog becomes heavier and you can no longer see around 100 metres ahead, switch on your fog lights. The law regarding fog lights is that they should only be used when absolutely necessary as the brightness easily dazzles other road users. As soon as visibility improves, switch back to dipped headlights.
Foggy weather conditions will also require you to increase your stopping distance, the same as, if not more than you would do so when driving in rain or on ice. All other drivers will be in the same position as you in terms for dramatically reduced visibility, so will understand if you opt to slow down and drop back more.
Remain Safe In All Weather Conditions
Preparation is vital when it comes to taking on various weather conditions. Do not worry about what other road users may assume if you decide to slow down, if you do not feel safe, the ongoing rule is to increase your stopping distance. Along with practice comes confidence, so don’t be afraid to attempt driving in trickier conditions!