Driving after storms and tempests

Text: Mariola Weindich-Mašek, photos: press release

3 August 2019

In August temperatures often reach above 30 degrees Celsius, but after intense heat waves, intense storms, violent rain and tempests often occur. Such weather conditions are very dangerous especially for drivers. Because of strong wind, not only branches, but also trees break and heavy rain creates large puddles on the roads, where deep holes can be hidden.

Avoid skid
High rainfall means that when you go on the road you can expect puddles and a very wet road surface. Careless driving in such conditions can make you to experience a phenomenon of aquaplaning. It often occurs when a car enters a deep puddle or a rut filled with water. The aquaplaning phenomenon is accompanied by a sudden impression of steering “play” and "escaping" of back of the car from side to side. The higher the speed, the more water, the higher is the probability of skid. In the case of water skid, first of all you should remember not to brake sharply and never turn the steering wheel. It is the most important to take your foot off the gas, reduce speed and wait until the vehicle is again controllable - says Zbigniew Weseli, director of Renault Safe Driving School. To have time for emergency maneuvering in the event of a loss of adhesion, you should also keep a distance greater than usual from other vehicles. It is worth remembering that the braking distance on a wet road surface can extend four times.

Avoid branches and trees
After the storm and tempest, branches and even whole trees broken by wind or lightning may lie on the road. – It is the best to go around branches or trees lying on the road, only if you do not expose your personal or other road users’ safety . Some of the trees can bend dangerously, it is better to choose a different route in order not to risk that the tree will fall down.

Watch out for puddles
Some puddles on the road can sometimes hide deep holes. While driving into them we can risk a serious damage to our car. - When the driver cannot avoid the puddle, he/she should slow down maximally. It can cover a hole or other surface distortion. So let’s reduce speed and it will lighten the front of the car - the coaches from Renault Safe Driving School say. While braking, the front shock absorbers are bent and they do not meet their task. While entering a hole, the impact energy is transferred to the suspension and wheels of the car. We should also press the clutch to protect a gearbox and engine from impact energy. Let us remember that a car should not enter the hole with its wheels twisted. Driving with straighten wheels can provide less loading of the steering system of the car. If the gap is very large, it is best to invade it with each wheel separately, not with the wheels of one axle at the same time - the trainers from Renault Safe Driving School recommend.