Make sure your tyres can cope with heavy rain predicted to fall across the UK

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With torrential downpours and gusty gales forecast for the next few weeks we strongly urge drivers to make sure their vehicle tyres can cope with whatever hazardous conditions they have to face on the roads.

Nearly three quarters of drivers across the UK are potentially unprepared for any heavy rainfall this winter and are therefore at an increased risk of being involved in an accident, according to a new survey carried out by tyre safety campaign group TyreSafe.

However, although driving in heavy rain and flooding can be extremely dangerous, the risks can be reduced by making sure your tyres have plenty of tread and that you follow some basic driving techniques.

Even drivers with local knowledge can be caught out during heavy downpours, as even the most modern road surface is still susceptible to standing water. This creates a potential aquaplaning hazard as well as significantly reducing visibility.

Only drive through water if you know that it’s not too deep. Drive slowly and steadily to avoid creating a bow wave. Allow oncoming traffic to pass first and test your brakes as soon as you can after leaving the water.

Don’t drive fast through standing water, because your tyres may well lose contact with the road, causing you to lose steering control and for the vehicle to aquaplane. If you do experience aquaplaning, hold the steering wheel lightly and lift off the throttle until the tyres regain grip.

Double the distance you leave between your car and the car in front of you, as stopping distances are increased by wet roads.

If steering becomes unresponsive due to the rain, ease off the accelerator and slow down gradually.

Make sure your tyres have adequate tread depth to help cope with wet and flooded conditions. Last winter was the wettest ever on record and it’s essential that you check their tread depth at least once a month to ensure you can cope with any similar weather which we may experience again this year.

Current UK law requires car tyres to have a minimum of 1.6mm of tread depth across three quarters of the tyre around its entire circumference. To check this place a 20p coin into the main tread grooves of your tyre. If the outer band of the 20p coin is obscured when inserted, then your tyre tread depth is above the legal minimum limit. However, if the outer band is visible when inserted into the tread, your tyres may be unsafe or illegal and will probably need replacing as soon as possible.

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