The risk of aquaplaning is so severe that drivers are warned that taking to the roads during a heavy downpour could see them slapped with a £5000 fine. The risk of losing control of your car is significantly higher and will put other road users in the path of danger.
The Risks of Wet Roads
Journey times will get longer in bad weather because flooding and spray make it much harder to navigate, and drivers must reduce their speed. Accidentally driving through a large puddle or driving too fast for the road conditions in the rain are common reasons why motorists lose control of their vehicle. When this happens, aquaplaning can occur. This is where the car loses contact with the road because of the layer of water between it and the road surface. When a vehicle aquaplanes it is not under the control of the driver and will slide forwards, potentially causing an accident. When there is too much water between a car tyre and the road, the tread is not able to do its job, which would be to push the water away.
The police have the power to fine drivers that they consider to have no due care and attention for amounts of up to £2500. This includes if the police think your tyres are not suitable for the wet road condition. The fine can be handed out for each tyre, so potentially a £10,000 fine and also three penalty points accompanying each fine. If the police find you have lost control of your car because you were driving too fast in wet conditions, you can also be charged with dangerous driving. This charge carries a £5000 fine and up to 9 points on your license.
Banned From the Roads
While it is pretty rare, the police also have the power to temporarily ban drivers to stop them from using their vehicles. If any of these things happen, you will also find your car insurance provider is likely to deem your claim invalid and, therefore, not pay out. It is possible to recover a car from aquaplaning; however, the timing and series of steps are vital, and most motorists are not aware of them and will not be able to recover the slide.
The Bottom Line
While it may seem like a nanny state gone mad, the bottom line is that you are advised not to drive in hefty rain unless there is a reason for you to do so. Essential journeys will have to take place, but you should lower your speed and take precautions to prevent the risk of aquaplaning. If there is no need to make a journey in the particularly torrential downpour, it is better to stay off the roads until the weather situation improves. Of course, you should also maintain good tyre health and ensure your tread is appropriate and replace every tyre when it becomes worn.