Over the last couple of months, we’ve had almost every type of weather thrown at us. Blistering sunshine, torrential rain, even hail at one point! Every step of the way the MET has been on hand to deliver their colour-coded weather warnings. But what do they mean? Can you still drive in an amber situation or is it only green that is safe?
Don’t worry, we’ve got the answers for you, and a couple of tips to help you drive in adverse conditions too.
What are weather warnings?
The Met office constantly keep track of the weather. The team of meteorologists act as the UK’s national weather service, and it is their job to issue weather warnings if needed.
The weather warning system is based on a traffic light system. It’s designed to keep you and your family safe, whether you’re on the roads or in your home. It’s always a good idea to check the Met website before long journeys, so you can be sure that you’re fully prepared.
Remember, the weather warnings are regional. You may have sunny spells in Devon, but if you go up to the Lake District there may be torrential rain. If you’re driving a long distance, check the weather warnings around your destination too just to be safe.
This is the best colour. This means that no severe weather is expected in your area. However, it is always good to be prepared as weather forecasts are not always accurate.
Nothing to panic about, just be aware of the weather. Yellow weather warnings mean that there is a possibility of severe weather over the next few days. If your area has a yellow weather warning you should plan your journeys ahead, and be prepared for travel delays and some disruption to day-to-day activities.
Get an app on your phone to monitor the traffic and the weather, and you’ll be ready for whatever the wind throws at you.
This weather warning means that you should be prepared for adverse weather. This type of weather usually results in extensive travel delays, road and rail closures, interruption to power lines and risks to property. Only go out in your car if it’s vital in these conditions.
Extreme weather is expected, so do not drive in these conditions. Instead, make sure you have stocked up on supplies at home, so you can wait for the extreme weather to pass. Red weather warnings are very uncommon in the UK.
How to adjust your driving.
For each weather condition, there are a number of things you can do to make sure you’re driving safely.
o In the winter, make sure no snow or ice is obstructing your view.
o Make sure that you know how to demist your car, your windscreen wipers are in good condition and that all of your lights work.
• Driving in the rain
o The most important thing is that you slow down.
o Your car may begin to lose grip and begin to ‘aquaplane’. Don’t panic. Take your foot off the accelerator rather than braking or steering suddenly as you’ll have less control.
o It’s best for your car if you avoid driving through surface water as you might flood your engine.
o If you do have to drive through it, do so in a low gear and keep the engine revving at a high rate. Keep moving forward to avoid stalling. Don’t forget to test your brakes after driving through the flood water as they may not be as receptive.
o Use your dipped headlights where possible.
o If you can’t see further than 100m in front of you, switch to fog lights, but switch back when your visibility improves.
o Don’t speed up if it clears – fog is patchy and you may find yourself back in the middle of it before you notice!
• Heavy winds
o Pay attention to which way the wind is blowing when driving in adverse conditions.
Now you know what each of the weather warnings mean, and how to react to certain types of weather, you’re all set for safe driving.
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