Preparing for Storm Babet: Tips from IAM RoadSmart

Blog post posted on 18/10/23 |
Storm Babet, the second named storm of the season, is on its way and is set to bring heavy rain and strong winds to many parts of the UK from Wednesday morning. The Met Office has issued several yellow weather warnings amid concerns of localised flooding.  

IAM RoadSmart, the UK’s leading road safety charity, has some tips to keep you safe in bad weather. 

1) If weather conditions are extremely poor, don’t even start your journey. Take note of any weather warnings and traffic updates in your local area; this will help you make an informed decision.

2) Driving in strong winds can be very dangerous, unsettling your car and forcing your vehicle in a different direction. Grip the steering wheel firmly and be mindful of vulnerable road users, such as motorcyclists, who will need more room than usual.

3) Always look well ahead for gaps between buildings and be careful when overtaking larger vehicles; in both cases gusts might be particularly strong. The movement of trees on the roadside can give a useful indication of wind strength too.

4) Heavy rain often leads to damaged road surfaces, and puddles can hide deep potholes; it’s always worth looking for clues such as loose chunks of tarmac.

5) Be wary of debris on roads, and allow yourself enough space to drive around it if necessary. Driving at a steady speed will also ensure you give yourself more time to slow down before a hazard arises. 

6) Try to fill up with fuel or charge your vehicle before you travel, as getting stuck in traffic will increase your fuel and battery consumption. Remember, with the lights, heater and wipers switched on, your fuel economy will be reduced even further. IAM RoadSmart has more top tips on helping you to lower your fuel consumption.  

IAM RoadSmart’s Director of Policy and Standards, Nicholas Lyes, said:

“Storm Babet will bring heavy rain and strong winds and will be particularly concerning given parts of Scotland have already seen large rainfall totals this month, posing a risk of flooded roads once again.   

“Strong winds create hazardous driving conditions so drivers should keep a firm grip on the steering wheel in case of crosswinds in exposed areas which may push them off-course and alongside this should reduce their speed because of the impact strong winds have on a vehicle’s handling. It’s also vital drivers give other road users – particularly cyclists and motorcyclists - a wide berth when overtaking.

“For riders, conditions can be even more challenging. We encourage them to slow down and maintain control by using the throttle and counter steering to balance out the effects of the wind. Loose clothing will also flap around far more in strong winds so it’s vital to ensure everything is properly done up.”