With persistent heavy rain and flood warnings affecting many areas recently, drivers are being urged to exercise extra caution on waterlogged roads to avoid skidding or aquaplaning.
Research shows that losing control of their vehicle on surface water or ice is what the majority of motorists fear most about driving during the winter – with 51 per cent naming it their number one concern, compared to the next biggest ‘getting stuck in snow’ on 24 per cent.
Motirists have been issued tips for safe driving in wet conditions.
These include: monitoring tyre tread depth, which helps expel water from beneath the wheel and considering replacing tyres when they have 3mm of tread – which can decrease stopping distance by an extra eight metres in wet conditions compared to the legal minimum of 1.6mm.
Slow down - drive in line with the road conditions by lowering your speed and allowing greater distance between you and the car in front should you need to stop.
Use smooth inputs - be extra cautious through bends in the road, steer smoothly and avoid sudden changes in direction as well as speed.
Follow in their tracks – if possible try to drive in the tyre tracks left by the car in front, where water has already been removed from the road surface and there is more grip, remembering not to get too close.
Heed the signs - pay attention to road signs and heed any warnings. Also think about your surroundings - if driving downhill, for example, there is an increased risk that pools of water will have formed at the bottom.
If, despite your best efforts, you do aquaplane:
Stay calm - remember that it is not the initial stages of an incident that will cause or prevent a loss of control but what you do in response.
Reduce your speed - take your foot off the accelerator and continue to steer your car smoothly in the direction of travel. Do this until you feel your tyres gain grip again.
Brake gradually - if you need to brake to reduce speed further, do so in gentle pumps to avoid locking the wheels and inducing a skid (unless your car has anti-lock brakes, which will do this for you).
Do NOT brake suddenly as this will make the situation worse.
Rory Carlin from Halfords, which commissioned the research andn isued the advice, said: “In response to the wet weather and concerns expressed by motorists, we are sharing some simple advice to help motorists guard against aquaplaning.
“Aquaplaning occurs when water accumulates between a car’s tyre and the surface of the road, causing it to lose grip. Since prevention is better than cure, drivers should take the following steps to minimise their chances of aquaplaning and being involved in a collision.”