As sad as it is to admit, summer is officially over, while we have been enjoying somewhat of an Indian summer this month, autumn is well and truly upon us. Unfortunately, with the change in season comes torrential downpours, orange weather warnings and most ominously, dangerous driving conditions.

When it comes to road safety on the Irish roads, it’s crucial to stay on top of all of the available information, so you protect yourself and others on the road. Here are 12 top tips for navigating Irish roads in the rain from Insure my Car. 


1. Check the weather and plan accordingly

When you’re going on a long journey, you can often become distracted with packing up your stuff and organising yourself. Sometimes, you might not even think to check the weather forecast for the day of your trip. To avoid getting caught in dangerous weather conditions, it’s imperative to watch weather updates so you can plan routes, avoid hazardous roads and allocate extra time for your car journey. 

It’s also important to remember that when it rains, more people choose to use their cars so there are often extra cars on the road. By checking the forecast ahead of your departure, you can put any necessary contingency plans in place! 


2. Give your car a routine check

Try to factor in routine checks for your car’s equipment; you don’t want to be taken by surprise in a downpour and find some vital aspect of your vehicle isn’t working as it should.  

Check your windscreen wipers, your headlights, your taillights and your tyres. It’s particularly important to check the tyre pressure and the tyre tread to make sure everything is in order before you encounter heavy rain. 


3. Avoid secondary roads where possible

When you get caught in a shower while driving, try to detour your route to main roads exclusively. Where possible, you should avoid secondary roads as these are often far more prone to flooding.  

Flooded roadways are more likely to induce skidding, so that’s why it’s best to use main roads when the weather deteriorates. 


4. Don’t stop your car in flooded sections  

No matter how quickly we react to rerouting during a downpour, we may still encounter flooded road sections. If you have to drive through a flooded patch of road, never stop in the water, just drive through them very slowly.  

Afterwards, check your brakes and dry them out immediately by very gently pressing on the brake pedal while the car is moving. 


5. Reduce your speed

It goes without saying, but we’re going to say it anyway. It’s incredibly important to slow down when it’s raining. You will need increased braking distances, and you will also have reduced visibility so it’s important to take that into account when your foot is on the accelerator. 

Keep an eye on your speedometer and the cars ahead of you. Remember the expression “it’s better late than never”. 


6. Use your windshield wipers

When the rain is persistent and heavy, people generally remember to switch on the wipers. However, when the rain is lighter people often forget. It’s imperative to always remember to turn on your wipers at the first sign of rain.  

You want to maintain an acceptable level of visibility and ensure your driving experience is as safe as possible, so it’s vital to keep them on during a spout of rain. 


7. Turn your lights on

When heavy rain starts to fall even during daylight hours it can become difficult for you to see other cars and for other cars see you. When you turn on your lights you’ll be more easily identifiable to both oncoming cars, rear cars and indeed, pedestrians. This will reduce the risk of a crash and will keep you and your fellow commuters safe on the road. 


8. Maintain a safe distance between you and other cars  

Rainy weather conditions mean you might have to break more suddenly than usual, that’s why it’s super important to leave that little bit of extra space between you and the car ahead.  

When you crash into the back of someone else car, it’s you who will be liable irrespective of the weather conditions. That’s why it’s important to ensure you’re maintaining safe braking distances when the weather gets rough.