The importance of checking weather forecasts and road conditions before you set off

The importance of checking weather forecasts and road conditions before you set off [Photo: iStock/GregorBister] 28th February 2017

Extreme weather is not something that is a particular surprise to people in the UK. While we're lucky enough to never really be hit with the types of extremes that often batter the American east coast, we do often have some challenging conditions to deal with, and particularly in the summer months, when the weather takes a turn for the worst. 

The arrival of storms Doris and Euan of the last week have been evidence of how quickly this can affect drivers in the winter months. After a particularly mild year, we were suddenly hit with high winds, torrential rain and heavy snow that hit some parts of the UK midweek and carried on until the weekend. 

The fact that the weather can take a turn like this so suddenly is reason enough to make sure you are always checking weather forecasts before setting off, but there are a number of other reasons that you should be looking at conditions before you journey even starts. Here, we take a look at just a few. 

Changing your route

One of the most important reasons to check weather forecasts before a long drive is so you can plan out your journey a little better. When bad weather kicks in, it can make certain roads more treacherous, which means that if you check in advance, it can allow you a little time to change where you're going to avoid such routes. 

Try to steer clear of anywhere where you know there can be problems with the road flooding when there's particularly heavy rainfall or where there are trees that can be blown over, which can be very dangerous if high winds are forecast. 

Changing conditions

There can also, of course, be the problem for drivers that conditions change in the blink of an eye. A bright and sunny day can quickly become overcast, and that can quickly take a turn for the even worse as the rain starts hammering down, making the roads slippery and causing issues with vision. 

At this time of year in particular, always take some time to look at what the predictions are for weather later in the day so you know what to expect, preparing you for any changes in weather that may well be coming later in your journey. 

Geographical differences

It's not just time that can make a difference to how weather is affecting your drive. A simple change in direction can make all the difference and turn easy drives into more challenging tasks. For example, while the roads may be clear at one point, a few miles away you may well encounter heavy snow and standing water, which presents you with all new challenges. 

So in order to avoid this, it's important that you take the time to check conditions across the places you are driving to, in order to give yourself a heads up on what you can expect.