UK weather: Expert warns of 'explosive' thunderstorms
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The Met Office has warned drivers about heavy thunderstorms starting on Monday. Anyone planning on making journeys this week should expect disruption due to rain which threatens to cause flash floods.
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, drivers have been urged by experts at Moneyshake to pay more attention when travelling after a sudden downpour.
This is because motorists who drive carelessly on wet roads can face a maximum penalty of two years in prison, a ban, up to 11 penalty points and an unlimited fine.
Due to the unpredictable British weather, car owners could find themselves driving in a heatwave after a sudden downpour.
And if they cause an accident on a slippery road, they could be convicted of dangerous driving.
According to the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA), there are two reasons why motorists should slow down and drive with care on roads that are wet after a heatwave.
Firstly, during periods of prolonged hot weather the bitumen in asphalt roads becomes more mobile and can sometimes “bleed” through to the surface.
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This reduces the texture depth and wet skidding resistance.
In extreme conditions, councils will apply grit to the road surface to increase its skid resistance.
Secondly, dry roads often have a build-up of rubber and oil particles.
When it rains these substances can mix with water and create a greasy layer that can become very slippery.
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Howard Robinson, RSTA chief executive, said: “Wet roads after a prolonged hot, dry period can become slippery.
“In addition to ensuring that their tyres are in good condition and properly inflated, motorists should slow down and drive with care.”
He continued: “Just like the freezing and ice of the winter, summer’s high temperatures underline how essential it is to ensure that roads are maintained to a correct standard.
“Unfortunately, continued cutbacks to highway budgets means that councils cannot afford the necessary programmes of long-term maintenance and surface dressing to ensure pothole-free, skid-resistant roads.”
Drivers are therefore urged to watch their speed and leave plenty of room.
The gap between vehicles should increase from two to four seconds.
Even if motorists are driving with rain tyres, their car’s stopping distance will be greater than on dry roads.
Motorists should also put their headlights on but keep them on a dipped beam. Fog lights should not be used.
Drivers also need to be conscious of spray from lorries and fast-moving vehicles as this could temporarily reduce visibility.
Equally, motorists need to be considerate about their own spray and avoid driving fast through puddles close to pedestrians or cyclists.
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