Motorists have been warned that driving in bad weather could invalidate their insurance if their car is unknowingly damaged.

We've put together what you need to know about driving safely in bad weather - and what the experts have said.

What have car insurance experts said?

Clare Egan, head of motor at Admiral, said: “With Storm Francis due to hit the UK this week, driving conditions will be challenging so motorists need to take extra care behind the wheel.

"As this is the first major storm since before lockdown, motorists may not have driven in severe weather like this for several months.

"To avoid the risk of unnecessary accidents on the roads, it’s vital that drivers understand how to stay safe to benefit themselves and other road users in these conditions.

"Driving through heavy rain isn’t an easy task as it makes for poor road conditions, including poor visibility as well as an increased risk of aquaplaning, so if your journey isn’t essential, consider delaying the trip until the storm eases off.

"If it’s essential for you to drive, remember that stopping distances increase during wet weather, so you should leave at least a four-second gap between you and the car in front.

"When there’s lots of rainfall roads quickly become flooded. Six inches of water is enough to reach the bottom of most cars which can cause potential loss of control and stalling.

"It’s always best to avoid driving into flood water, as you never know how deep it may be, and if you take a risk you may not be covered by your insurance for any damage caused.

"If you must head out on the roads during the storm, watch your speed, keep an eye on the changing road conditions, and most of all – keep safe."

How to drive safely in heavy rain and winds

These are a few top tips from Admiral:

  • Keep an eye on the weather forecast for your area. Local news outlets, the Met Office website or the Environment Agency will all have information on predicted weather for your area
  • If you live in an area that floods often, think about where you leave your car so you can access it if necessary
  • If floods are predicted, try to move your car to higher ground
  • If the weather is bad, do not drive in areas renowned for flooding
  • Don't just follow the car in front of you through flooded areas - you never know how deep it is or if you’ll be able to get out
  • It's not just your car you are putting at risk by driving into a flood, just two feet of water is enough to sweep a car away
  • Similarly, if your area is flooded and your car is submerged, do not try to start the engine
  • If your car was flooded but the water has subsided, you still shouldn't try to start the engine. You don't know how much water and mud is trapped in the engine and exhaust and trying to start it up could do more damage. Instead, speak to a mechanic to get the engine cleaned and dried out.