UK weather: More cloud and rain to come with cooler conditions
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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 across the UK have been urged to follow simple steps in order to stay safe on wet roads.
From puddles on roads that could damage engines to increased stopping distances as a result of wet surfaces, motorists need to remain vigilant for the rest of the week.
Motoring experts at CarMats.co.uk have put together a list of tips that drivers should follow during heavy downpours.
Here are some of them:
Prep for your journey
Before setting off in heavy rain, you should consider whether your trip is essential. Usually, heavy storms will pass relatively quickly, so it may be worth holding off.
If the journey is necessary, then you should inform a friend or relative of the route you will be taking. There are also some important checks you should make before setting off:
Fuel: Try and fill up before you make the trip, your fuel consumption will increase when you’re using your lights, wipers and ventilation all at once.
Wipers: It’s essential that your windscreen and rear windshield wipers are in full working order as they will keep your windows clear and improve your visibility. Check if they’re working properly at all settings and are clear of debris before setting off.
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Tyres: Your tyres play a major role in keeping you safe during a heavy rainstorm – so you should check that they are in a suitable condition, with the recommended air pressure and tread depth, so you can guarantee your tyres have a safe amount of grip on wet roads.
Stay up to date with weather news
Check your local news and radio stations, either before or during your journey, so you can stay informed about the changes in the forecast.
This will also help you stay up to date with any potential floods or road closures that may affect your journey or pose any dangers.
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Maintain space and a steady pace
Drivers should be extra vigilant when driving in rainstorms, as the stopping distances are increased, so you will need to brake earlier than usual. Keep a steady pace throughout your journey and leave double the amount of space between you and the car in front.
Instead of leaving a two-second gap between your vehicle and the one in front, increase that space to a four-second gap. No one can control the weather, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be liable when the weather is a factor in a car accident.
According to the law, since motorists have the power to choose whether or not to drive in hazardous weather conditions, then you could still be held responsible for an incident you are involved in, despite the wet weather contributing to the reason. If you are involved in an incident in bad weather, you could face:
A charge for ‘Careless Driving’ under Section 3 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, which can lead to three to nine points and an unlimited fine.
A charge for ‘Dangerous Driving’ under Section 2 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. Being found guilty can lead to imprisonment, a compulsory driving disqualification and extended re-test.
Therefore, a driver must change their behaviour to account for the adverse road conditions. For example, it is irrelevant if a road has a speed limit, as the driver must go slower due to wet road conditions.
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