SEP 5, 2014

7 classic driving tips for wet weather

As we head into autumn the mild summer weather will gradually disappear and one thing we can count on, there’ll be a few rainy days ahead.

This shouldn’t put you off driving a classic car, just take a few extra precautions and even if you faced with a sudden downpour of heavy rain, you’ll be safe out on the road.

This next post from Citroen Classics looks at some of the precautions to take to equip your car and yourself for rainy weather.

1. Test wipers before you set off

The UK can be inclement at the best of times so it’s a good idea to keep your wipers in good shape throughout the year. Test the blades, do they clear water off the windscreen or have they started smearing rain across the glass instead?

Changing a set of wiper blades is a simple process, if your blades are worn, the rubber is perished or it has come loose from the wiper arm, it’s time to renew and repel the advances of rain.   

2. Check tyre tread

Tyres need grip to cope with rainy conditions. Without a healthy level of tread your tyres lack adhesion and this affects your stopping power.

Keep monitoring tyres levels. The legal limit is 1.6mm. Most motoring organisations and tyre manufacturers recommend you change tyres when the tread gets down to 3mm.  

3. Allow extra braking distance

Tailgating is bad enough in fine weather conditions. It’s suicidal when there’s a downpour.

Double the amount of distance you’d normally leave between your car and the vehicle in front during a heavy downpour and give yourself plenty of time to react.

4. Use headlights if visibility is seriously reduced

Rain showers affect a driver’s line of sight, especially on fast moving A roads and motorways. Surface spray is generated and this creates a barrier of water, in these instances it’s often hard for you to see and for other motorists to see you as well.

Let other drivers know you are there. Switch on lights when visibility is seriously reduced. Just remember to turn them off again afterwards when the conditions improve.    

5. Slow down

Adjust your speed to the driving conditions. Driving fast is crazy, slow down in wet weather and this will give you better car control.

Ease back on the accelerator, there’s nothing clever about driving fast in wet weather, you could crash that classic and injure yourself and other people.   

6. Avoid flooded roads

Never attempt to drive through a flooded road in a classic car. Water will seep into the engine, it will penetrate door and body panels, you’ll be left stranded in flood water and face an expensive repair bill as a result.

The smallest amount of standing water causes problems. If you have to drive through standing water estimate the depth, drive slowly though it in a low gear and keep engine revs up to avoid stalling the car.

7. Watch out for aquaplaning

Drive in heavy rain and there’s a risk of aquaplaning. This is when you hit a section of standing water and the tyres lose contact with the road. Normally the steering will feel light when this happens and it will almost certainly be unresponsive as well.

The simple way to react in these conditions is to ease off the accelerator, keep holding the steering wheel and wait for the tyres to regain grip.   

Take extra care when you drive a classic car in wet weather and remember to have an autumn service at Citroen Classics.    


Created on 5th September 2014
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