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New research has found that only half of British drivers slow down while driving in heavy rain, meaning almost 20 million motorists don’t. As a result of this, one in eight drivers has admitted to having had some sort of accident in wet and windy weather.
There is an average of 16 injuries on the roads for every rainy day across the UK. A third of drivers said they feel very unsafe driving in heavy rain, whilst one in 10 will try and find a different way to travel.
When driving in heavy rain or other difficult conditions, motorists should use dipped headlights or risk a £50 fine.
If visibility is seriously reduced due to rain and spray from the roads, they should use their dipped headlights to help them and others.
The research revealed almost two-thirds of British drivers are not aware that using these will help improve visibility, despite the fact that it could land them with a fine.
Failing to use the appropriate lights when they are unable to see for more than 100 metres ahead of them could see them slapped with a £50 on-the-spot fine if stopped by police.
According to Rule 113 of the Highway Code, motorists are required to use dipped headlights whenever visibility is seriously reduced.
Reduced visibility is generally considered when drivers are unable to see for more than 100 metres (328 feet) ahead of them.
This could be during the day in periods of heavy fog, rain or snow, or at night time. The only exception to this rule is in 30mph built-up areas where roads are adequately lit by street lights no more than 180 metres (200 yards) apart.
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But, even on these roads, it is best for drivers to keep their headlights switched on. Drivers should also be careful when using their front or rear fog lights as they can have a dangerous impact on other motorists.
Rule 236 of the Highway Code states: “You must not use front or rear fog lights unless visibility is seriously reduced as they dazzle other road users and can obscure your brake lights. You must switch them off when visibility improves.”
Simon Waye, technical engineer at ATS Euromaster, has urged drivers to keep safe this winter by ensuring they make checks before setting off.
He warned that tyres with very low tread wear can seriously affect the grip they have on the road.
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Drivers can check their tread by using a penny upside down in between the tyre tread, and if they can see the top of the Queen’s head, they will know that the treads are worn and need replacing.
All-season tyres are advised by some experts, as they can be more effective at gripping the road.
Mr Waye said: “It’s important to check that your front and back wiper blades are functioning and if not then get these replaced.
“Getting stuck in traffic in bad weather increases your fuel consumption so make sure you have enough fuel in your car. Check out your local news bulletins or online for any road closures or any flooding that is affecting travel.”
Tyre manufacturer Continental suggests for every temperature decrease of 10 degrees, tyres will lose between one and two PSI (pounds per square inch) of pressure. This is enough pressure to be detrimental to the car’s handling and stopping capabilities.
It is recommended drivers should check their tyre pressure at least once a week in the winter months. If motorists are driving on damaged or worn tyres, the RAC says they are putting other road users at risk.
Graham Conway, Managing Director at Select Car Leasing, warned drivers to always check their tyres to make sure they are safe.
He said: “Driving in winter conditions can be hazardous – especially for your wallet if you’re not prepared. As the colder weather creeps in, and with UK consumers already worried about increased living costs, motorists need to be aware of this year to minimise any unexpected costs.”
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