With all the rain we have had recently it is as well to remember that all water is flat on top, but many puddles conceal hidden depths.

Water conceals potholes, beware!
Even on a road, you know well after a torrential downpour pot-holes can appear overnight, cunningly concealed by a sheet of seemingly benign water.  Never trust a puddle.

Potholes cost motorists an estimated £320M every year
If the water becomes a lake, stretching from kerb to kerb, then even more caution is called for.  If you can still see the kerb then use the centre of the road, the water will be shallower there because of the camber.

If the water covers the kerb or verges then, unless you are driving a 4×4 off-roader, extreme caution is called for.  If you have your wellies in the boot, always a wise precaution, then put them on, find a stick and wade out to test the depth before venturing further.  If you do decide to proceed, then take first gear, and keep just enough revs to prevent stalling as you drive VERY slowly to the other side.  You will do yourself no favours by creating a bow wave.  Once safely across, then test your brakes by pressing the brake pedal gently with your left foot while moving forward, still very slowly.

I recently joined a queue of traffic held up by a car on its roof in the middle of the road just beyond a flooded dip.  Did he find he had no brakes, or did he skid on the muddy road as he accelerated away from the water?  I did not find out, but I am pretty sure he was travelling too fast for the conditions.

If you have to drive a night during, or after, heavy rain, take extra care, especially on unlit roads.  It is often difficult to distinguish between smooth wet tarmac and smooth wet water.  While both need care you never know what might be lurking under the water.

Do you know what you’re driving in to?
Remember, it is better to arrive late then not to arrive at all.

There is more detailed advice on driving through water on page 39 in the new Roadcraft book.

Pint of Stella Artois – 4.8%

568ml (1 pint) * 4.8 = 2726.4 % 1000 = 2.7 units

2 pints takes you over the legal limit

Other drink/drive considerations…

It takes roughly 30 minutes before the alcohol you just consumed enters your bloodstream.  After that, the body can begin removing the alcohol at a rate of 1 unit per hour.

This rate cannot be rushed!

Quick maths…You get to the pub at 8pm and drink 7 pints before closing time.  7 pints is 7 lots of 2.7 units, which is just over 19 units.

You leave the pub at 11:30 pm after last orders, so your body had 3 hours processing time, so your body is carrying 16 units.

Let’s suppose, you go straight home and get a good nights rest (and don’t go on to the night club for more drinks!) In bed for midnight and up for work early at 7.30am.  Is it safe to drive?

You may have already calculated that at 11:30 pm you still had 16 units inside you.  You have 8 more hours processing time before you drive to work. 16-8 = 8 units still in your system at 7:30am.

You are over the limit still!  Only 7 pints?

Other drinks:

Whiskey 25ml (1 measure)
1 measure of whiskey, 25ml1 unit.

Red / White Wine, different measures – be careful!
Glass of Wine.  Be careful as many pubs use larger glasses these days!

125ml
175ml (new “small” standard)
250ml
Often, the standard “small” wine measure is now 175ml, which is in fact medium.  12% wine in this glass makes it 2 units of alcohol.  Red wine tends to be 12.5% and would make this glass nearly 2.2 units. 2 “small” (medium) glasses of wine puts women over the safe 3 unit limit.

What about a large glass?  250ml measure.  That’s 3 units per glass.  Think about this for a moment – 2 large glasses of wine is half a litre!  Would you dream of drinking half a litre of wine, and then driving home?  It happens – a lot!

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