Driving: Expert reveals the dangers of aquaplaning
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Motorists are being warned that they are at risk of aquaplaning and huge fines if they fail to make sure that their tyres are safe this winter. Aquaplaning might take place when there is a layer of water built up between a vehicle’s tyres and the surface of the road.
And, as the roads become wetter and slippier, drivers must make sure that their tyres are in top condition.
With that in mind, Express.co.uk spoke to an expert who provided her advice ahead of winter.
Dorry Potter, car and scrappage expert for National Scrap Car, said: “As the grip on the road reduces due to the wet weather and eventually frost and snow, it is of ultra importance that drivers ensure their tyres exceed the minimum expectations.
“The legal tyre tread depth for cars in the UK and Europe is 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tyre, according to law, however, this is just the minimum it should be.
“A deep tread will improve the tyres’ grip and will ensure motorists are not risking a hefty fine of £2,500 per tyre which doesn’t meet the minimum.”
Ms Potter added that although not the sole reason for it, tyres in poor condition can also increase the likelihood of aquaplaning.
Aquaplaning happens when the tyres cannot grip onto the road, causing a lack of traction, which results in the driver losing control, unable to steer, brake or accelerate.
Ms Potter said: “It can be extremely dangerous and put the driver, other motorists and pedestrians at risk.
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“To help avoid this from happening, of course, drivers must ensure their tyres are in the best possible condition as we go into the wetter months.
“This involves avoiding large puddles and not speeding through overly wet areas.
“The water depth only needs to be 2.5mm to be at risk of aquaplaning.”
The expert also provided some advice on what to do when a vehicle aquaplanes.
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Ms Potter stressed: “If motorists ever find themselves in a position where they are aquaplaning, there are some steps to remember to help get back into a safe situation.
“Firstly, it may be instinctive to slam on the brakes, but avoid doing this, there is no grip on the road which is why the car is aquaplaning in the first place, hitting on the brakes will just make matters worse.
“Instead, motorists should gently ease off the accelerator and hold the steering wheel straight.
“When the car begins to gain control again then the driver can begin to brake to bring their speed down.”
Drivers have also been urged to think about their stopping distance.
When a road surface becomes slippy, it makes a vehicle unable to break as quickly as it would be able to on a dry surface.
For this reason, drivers should leave a gap between their vehicle and the car in front up to 10 times the normal recommended braking distance.
Motorists should also ensure to give themselves at least 10 seconds to come to a complete stop.
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