Our tips to drive safely in storms

Torbay Weekly

It may seem like locking the stable door after the horse has bolted but I thought it would be helpful to let you know a few sensible actions to minimise risk to you and your vehicle in extreme weather.

Following storms Dudley, Eunice and Franklin, it is apparent we are going to see more severe stormy weather in the future causing major damage to our homes and possessions.  

We, at Vospers, have been lucky with only a few cars suffering minor damaged from debris, but this is as a result of our Health and Safety Officer putting a number of rules in place and giving sensible advice to those driving on the roads. If you do not need to go out, stay home, but if you must drive, please consider the following:

Ensure your vehicle is in a roadworthy condition and regularly check items such as tyres, lights and wiper blades. If there is any change in feel to your steering or brakes, get them checked by your local garage.

Plan your route in advance. Use weather and traffic forecasts both before and during your journey, and be prepared to change your plans.

Allow more time than normal. You may be forced to take a diversion, if, for example, a road is flooded or a tree is blocking the route. You are also more likely to be held up by an accident or slow-moving traffic.

Reduce your speed. With water on the road, possible debris, and gusts of wind liable to throw you off course, you are likely to remain in control if you drive more slowly.

Use your lights in order that you can be seen by other drivers but do not use your fog lights unless you are driving in foggy conditions.

If you have a modern vehicle with adaptive cruise control, brake assist and lane discipline, make sure they are turned on.

Be even more vigilant. You should be prepared for your and other vehicles to do something unpredictable and be able to take action to avoid a collision.

Be aware of roadside items, such as signs, lampposts, or trees to check there is no obvious lack of stability and if possible, avoid parking under trees or unstable items. If you are lucky enough to have a garage, park your car in it.

Take a break more often than normal to recharge yourself.

Take warm protective clothing with you.

Finally, if in doubt, cancel or postpone your plans. It is simply not worth risking yours and your family’s wellbeing.

Keep safe and keep smiling.