Weather can have a huge impact on your driving.  Knowing how to drive in various weather conditions is vital to getting to your destination safely.  To help, I have put together a list of things to think about before you set off and during your journey.  So regardless of if you are driving in rain, wind, fog, floods, or snow and ice, you can always do so safely.


In stormy conditions, it is more difficult to see other vehicles, road signs and the road itself. Make sure you can see and be seen.

driving in rain

Setting off

  • Make sure the wipers are clean and in good condition
  • Keep the windscreen washer filled
  • Clean the windows – inside and out
  • Torrential rain makes the car mist up in seconds – set the heater or demister controls before you set off

On the road

If you see water pooling or streaming across the road, don’t brake or accelerate onto it don’t use cruise control on wet roads – it may create problems if you start to aquaplane

  • Slow down and give yourself more time
  • Drop back from the spray from the vehicle in front
  • Turn on your headlights whenever you need to use your wipers
  • Slow down, look ahead and increase your following distance
  • Make allowances for other road users
  • A suddenly very wet road surface increases your chances of slipping when braking or steering
  • On water, ease off the accelerator, grip the steering wheel firmly and try to steer straight ahead
  • On motorways, put your wipers on their fastest setting before overtaking


Fog is a dangerous condition for drivers to deal with and freezing fog is especially difficult.

driving in fog

Setting off

  • Clean your windscreen and windows
  • Check all the lights
  • Check that the wipers are in order
  • Top up your  windscreen wash
  • In freezing fog your washer fluid will freeze on contact with the screen unless it is mixed with winter strength screen wash fluid as this has an additive to help reduce the chances of freezing
  • Can you avoid the worst problem areas? Fog often collects near water first
  • Know your route before you start – signs will be harder to read
  • Satnav directions are less easily applied without good vision
  • Keep high-viz clothes in the car in case you break down

On the road

  • If you cannot see clearly use dipped headlights
  • You should only use front and rear fog lights in fog where visibility is 100 metres or less
  • Use the windscreen wipers and washers as you need them
  • Drive so that you can always stop in the distance you can see to be clear in front of you
  • Check your speedo – it’s easy to go too fast
  • Do not accelerate to get away from a vehicle which is following too closely
  • Brake early and gently so that your brake lights warn drivers
  • At junctions wind the window down and listen for traffic
  • Fog varies in thickness – don’t be caught out by a change in density

If you break down

  • Keep clear of traffic
  • Pedestrians can be hard to see
  • Wear high-viz clothes
  • Listen as well as look for traffic
  • Use a warning triangle, but not on a motorway


  • Leave plenty of room between you and the car in front so that you can see the road surface
  • If you hit a pothole, check your tyres once you’ve stopped
  • Check the inner as well as the outer tyre wall
  • Check your mirrors before pulling out to avoid a hole
  • Bikers and cyclists need to look well ahead and change direction early
  • Potholes tend to reappear in the same place again – remember the trouble spots
  • Extra pressure is put on the road surface wherever heavy vehicles stop, start or turn, so roads are likely to be in poorer condition here


In high wind our advice is the same as for driving in all extreme weather conditions – do you really need to make the journey? 

driving in wind

Setting off

  • Think about where you are going – is there a route with less exposure to the weather, and less risk of fallen trees?
  • Allow for delays caused by accidents

On the road

  • Slow down – you are more vulnerable to side winds at higher speeds
  • Keep plenty of distance between you and the car in front
  • Be ready for the gust of wind when you pass a large vehicle or buildings
  • Give cyclists and motorcyclists more room than usual
  • Keep an eye out  for objects being blown into your path
  • Watch what is happening to other vehicles – where they are affected will give you a warning
  • Winds can be gusty, and not constant. Drive to deal with the gusts

Snow and Ice

Driving in snow is challenging. Even on local and familiar roads, cars can get stuck, and can skid at very low speed. We’ve all seen images of abandoned cars and people forced to spend the night on the roadside, so ask yourself,do you really need to make the journey?

driving in snow and ice

Setting off

Make sure you clear the windows for all round visibility, as well as the snow from the roof of your car a squirt of WD-40 will prevent your door locks freezing up

On the road

  • Get your speed right – too fast reduces control, too slow loses momentum
  • Set off gently in second gear, avoiding high revs. High gears improve control
  • Plan your journey – busier roads are more likely to be gritted
  • On bends, reduce speed early, before you turn the wheel
  • Slow down before you descend a hill
  • Keep moving, even if it is only at walking pace

If you break down

  • Keep a track of where you are so you can tell the emergency services your location if you break down
  • If you need to leave the car, stand well away from the traffic flow
  • On motorways and dual carriageways it’s always best to get out of the car – stand behind it and on the other side of the safety barrier or up the bank where possible

If you get stuck

  • Don’t keep trying to move if the wheels spin, this will only dig you in deeper
  • Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way
  • Be sparing with the accelerator to ease your car out
  • Use a shovel to clear snow away from the wheels and the underside of the car
  • Pour sand, gravel or salt in the path of the wheels, to help get traction
  • Shift from forward to reverse, and back again. Each time you’re in gear, give a light touch on the gas until the vehicle gets going


Even if water on the road appears shallow, it may be much deeper than you realise.  Less than a centimeter of water can cause you to lose control.

driving on flooded roads

Setting off

  • Do you really need to make the journey?

On the road

Don’t set off if a vehicle is approaching you.  Never take your foot off the accelerator in deep water, as this could allow water to travel up the exhaust pipe.

  • Drive on the highest section of the road
  • Give room to other cars and pedestrians
  • Drive slowly and keep going once you have started
  • In a manual car, keep the revs high by “slipping the clutch” (keeping the clutch partly engaged) while in the water
  • Once you’re out of the water, dry the brakes by lightly applying them, after checking behind for traffic first