UK weather: Threat of thunderstorms continues
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The Met Office has issued a raft of thunderstorm warnings from Monday for up to two inches of rain which threaten flash floods and damage to buildings. England’s Environment Agency currently has 11 flood alerts in place, stretching from Bristol to Loughborough and Nottinghamshire to North Norfolk.
With that in mind, motorists are being reminded that driving in heavy rain and losing control of a vehicle can see motorists issued with fines as high as £5,000 and may put other road users in considerable danger.
Experts have warned spray and flooding could make journeys longer as motorists slow down to deal with the difficult conditions.
However, driving a vehicle into a large puddle or travelling too quickly for the wet road conditions can see motorists lose control of their cars.
This could put drivers at risk of aquaplaning, where a car is lifted off the road surface by heavy water.
This will cause the car to uncontrollably slide forwards and can lead to devastating consequences.
Experts at IAM RoadSmart previously said aquaplaning can be caused by tyre tread not being able to push water away from the vehicle.
Police officers can issue charges of up to £2,500 for driving without due care and attention if the tyres are considered unsuitable for the conditions.
In some extreme cases, officers can even fine drivers £2,500 and hand three penalty points for each tyre that does not meet road standards.
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If motorists have lost control of their vehicle due to driving too quickly for the road conditions, police could issue a charge for dangerous driving.
This could see motorists fined £5,000 and issued with up to nine penalty points on their driving licence.
In some extreme cases, road users may also be issued a temporary driving ban which will prevent them from getting behind the wheel.
Car insurance providers may also decide to invalidate cover and refuse payouts on any damage if motorists drove beyond the road conditions.
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Richard Gladman, head of driving standards at IAM RoadSmart previously warned of the dangers of aquaplaning in heavy rainfall.
He revealed motorists could recover from aquaplaning by taking a series of critical steps in the moments after the car loses control.
He said: “If the water is standing in puddles on the road surface, your car is at risk of aquaplaning.
“Aquaplaning is where a wedge of water forms in front of the tyre and lifts it up off the road surface. This is caused by the tread not being able to displace the amount of water present.
“To recover from aquaplaning, ease gently off your accelerator, have a firm grip of the steering wheel and be sure not to make any sudden steering actions. The car will eventually regain its grip as the water clears.”
Drivers should also maintain a safe distance during treacherous weather conditions.
Bill Plant Driving School recommends keeping a 75 feet gap if a driver is travelling at 30mph.
However, this should increase to 120 feet when travelling at 40mph.
The RAC says stopping distances usually increase four times when it starts to rain as vehicles will have less grip than under dry conditions.
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