About driving

When conditions change

Driving in bad weather

If it is raining, icy, snowing or foggy, conditions on the road will be more dangerous. You need to drive with extra care.

Tips for driving in bad weather

Check your car

Effective brakes, tyres, windscreen wipers, lights and steering are even more crucial in wet weather. Check your vehicle regularly to make sure they are all in good condition.

Adjust your driving

Wet, frosty or icy roads can be very slippery. You need to increase your following distance because it takes longer to stop on a slippery surface. You should increase your following distance by using the four-second rule). Roads are extra slippery just after the rain commences, and will remain so until the rain has washed any oil off the road.

Watch your visibility

Visibility (how far you can see) can be seriously reduced by rain, snow or fog. This can increase the risk of a crash. To improve visibility, keep all windows and mirrors clean. Don't let windows fog up – turn on the demister or open a window.

Brake carefully

Unless your vehicle has ABS brakes, don't brake too hard when it is wet. You may go into a dangerous skid. Instead, pump the brakes gently.

If your vehicle has ABS brakes, never pump the brakes in an emergency. Keep the pedal pressed down hard and steer out of trouble. Don't become over-confident in your driving just because your vehicle has ABS brakes.


Be aware of approaching vehicles (especially large trucks) as these can spray water on your windscreen as they pass. Even if it has stopped raining, if the road is still wet, you may need to turn on your windscreen wipers as the truck approaches.

Reduce speed

On a wet road, driving at the speed limit could be too fast for the conditions. You can lose control very easily in the wet, especially if you have to brake suddenly, so slow down.

Dip your headlamps in fog

If you drive with your lamps on full beam in fog, the light will just reflect back on you. Dip your lights – it will be much easier to see.

Don't just turn your park lights on. They are hard for oncoming drivers to see and do little to improve your vision.

You can use front fog lights when driving in fog. These have a wide, low beam and produce either a white or yellow light.

Rear fog lights, which produce a high-intensity red light, should only be used when visibility is very bad. (In normal conditions they can dazzle drivers following you.)

Fog lights should be switched off as driving conditions improve.

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Last updated: 23 February 2015