With heavy rain forecast to hit much of NSW and Sydney this week, new research has found a quarter of people are not confident when it comes to driving in wet weather.
The research from NRMA Insurance found 95 per cent Australians feel unsafe while driving during a storm, with leading concerns the lack of visibility caused by heavy rain (76 per cent), the adverse effects of wet conditions on a car (69 per cent) and the behaviour of other drivers (68 per cent).
Young drivers are the least assured in the wet with nearly one in three (30 per cent) saying they are not confident in their own driving ability during heavy rain.
Ramana James, Head of Shared Value for NRMA Insurance urged drivers to take care while on our roads, especially given severe storms could “strike at any time”, particularly over summer.
“It’s important to check weather forecasts before you start your journey and if you encounter heavy rain while on your trip, make sure your headlights are on and pull over when it is safe to do so, until the storm has passed,” he said.
“The reality is, it only takes a small amount of floodwater to make even a large vehicle unstable and potentially float away, so the message is clear – it is never safe to drive through floodwater.”
The research, conducted by NRMA Insurance to coincide with storm season (October to March), also found drivers make poor decisions during severe weather strikes, with 41 per cent admitting they've driven through floodwater.
The NRMA recommends these top 10 tips for safe driving in storms:
- Where possible, avoid driving in severe weather.
- If you are caught in a storm, pull over to the side of the road when it is safe to do so.
- If you are driving through a storm, turn on your headlights so you are visible to other drivers.
- Be aware that it can take longer to brake when driving in the wet so leave a safe distance (approximately five seconds) between your car and other vehicles.
- Take the advice of the SES and never enter or drive through floodwater.
- Monitor for changes in weather and have alternatives routes or plans in place.
- Make sure your car is serviced and safe to drive, including working windscreen wipers and lights.
- Make sure your car insurance is up to date.
- Make a family emergency kit with items you might need during a flood, storm or another emergency, and ensure it travels with you.
- If a storm is approaching, park your car under cover or away from trees.
For emergency help in storms and floods call the NSW SES on 132 500. Dial 000 in life threatening emergencies. For more information on how to prepare for severe storms, visit www.ses.nsw.gov.au.