As the weather worsens and rain and flooding is due to set in, driving can be dangerous, especially in rural areas where the roads are more likely to flood or create water plains.

Often driving is best avoided, but if you need to venture out, there are a number of hints and tips you can follow to ensure that you have a safe journey.

Before you head off

It might sound simple, but ensuring that you have things like your mobile phone with you and letting your family or friends know where you’re going can help if you get into a tricky situation. Make sure you have a full tank before you leave too – using your heater and lights will make your car use more fuel.

And it goes without saying – make sure your windscreen wipers work before setting off in the rain!

Driving on the road

Make sure that you have your dipped headlights on no matter what time of the day so that other road users can always see you. You should also make sure that you leave plenty of distance between you and the car in front to account for stopping distances, and leave extra room for large vehicles such as lorries or vans who create spray which reduces visibility on the road.

Be considerate of other road users too. If there is still water at the side of the road try to avoid driving through it or go slowly through it to reduce the splash that you may get on pedestrians or cyclists.

Avoid deep standing water

It can be tempting to drive through that flood water that’s blocking your favourite short cut, but what you may not realise is that it can severely damage your car doing this. If the engine sucks water up into it, it could fail, and lock up, leaving you stranded in the middle of the water.

Not only will you have caused irreversible damage to your car, you might not be able to be compensated for it by your insurers unless you can demonstrate that it wasn’t your fault!

Flooded areas

Never drive through flooded areas if you cannot judge how deep the water is. Use the kerb as an indicator and if it looks safe to pass through then drive through the highest section of the road to minimise the amount of water you come into contact with.

Always drive as slowly as possible through the water so that you don’t create a wave in front of you. Let oncoming traffic pass first so that you have a clear path and don’t have to stop in the water to let other cars pass. Once you’ve got through the water test your brakes before setting off again.

If you do break down or your engine cuts out don’t try to restart it, especially if you’re sitting in deep water. Call your breakdown service and let them deal with it, as attempting to restart the car could cause water to enter the engine.