Fallen leaves and black ice warnings issued to drivers ahead of winter

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Drivers have been urged by an expert to “keep an eye out” on the weather during the next few months. Motorists have been warned that if they lose control of their vehicle because of bad weather conditions, they could receive fines up to £1,000.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Tom Hixon, Head of Instructor Support at Bill Plant Driving School, stressed that as drivers enter autumn and winter months, it is important that they are aware of the way their driving might be impacted.

Mr Hixon said: “For example, fallen leaves and black ice can be a great threat to driving control – keep an eye on the weather and if it appears icy make sure you give yourself enough braking distance when on the road.

“Fallen leaves can also hide potholes and debris on the road – if possible, drive around piles of leaves. If there has been rainfall, these leaves can make the roads slippery and increasingly dangerous.

“Not having full control over the vehicle you are driving could result in a £1000 fine, so be sure to take into account the road conditions before setting off on your journey.”

Mr Hixon added: “With rain and potential snow becoming more likely in these coming months, at the start of a drive gently test your brakes by pressing them a few times whilst moving slowly, this will help remove any standing water that has been caught during rainfall.

“If it snows, be sure to remove all snow off of your vehicle, especially the roof – this can be a hazard as it can fall whilst driving which could reduce visibility for yourself and other drivers on the road. This could result in another £1000 fine if your visibility of the road is not sufficient.”

Motorists have previously been warned that driving a vehicle into a large puddle or travelling too quickly for the wet road conditions can see motorists lose control of their cars.

This could put drivers at risk of aquaplaning, where a car is lifted off the road surface by heavy water. This will cause the car to uncontrollably slide forwards and can lead to devastating consequences.

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Experts at IAM RoadSmart said aquaplaning can be caused by tyre tread not being able to push water away from the vehicle. Police officers can issue charges of up to £2,500 for driving without due care and attention if the tyres are considered unsuitable for the conditions.

In some extreme cases, officers can even fine drivers £2,500 and hand three penalty points for each tyre that does not meet road standards.

If motorists lose control of their vehicle due to driving too quickly for the road conditions, police could issue a charge for dangerous driving. This could see motorists fined £5,000 and issued with up to nine penalty points on their driving licence.

In some extreme cases, road users may also be issued a temporary driving ban which will prevent them from getting behind the wheel. Car insurance providers may also decide to invalidate cover and refuse payouts on any damage if motorists drove beyond the road conditions.

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Richard Gladman, head of driving standards at IAM RoadSmart, warned of the dangers of aquaplaning in heavy rainfall. He revealed motorists could recover from aquaplaning by taking a series of critical steps in the moments after the car loses control.

He said: “If the water is standing in puddles on the road surface, your car is at risk of aquaplaning.

“Aquaplaning is where a wedge of water forms in front of the tyre and lifts it up off the road surface. This is caused by the tread not being able to displace the amount of water present.

“To recover from aquaplaning, ease gently off your accelerator, have a firm grip of the steering wheel and be sure not to make any sudden steering actions. The car will eventually regain its grip as the water clears.”

Mr Hixon also suggested that the recent changes made to the Highway Code could lead to the improvement of road safety. He said: “It can be difficult to determine the impacts of the law changes, however, the introduced changes were mainly centred around improving road safety and emission quantities.

“Therefore, we do hope that this improvement will be seen in this year’s statistics. One of the main changes to the highway code introduced this year was the hierarchy of road users.

“This saw users including cyclists and pedestrians receive right of way on the road. The goal of this change was to place the responsibility of road safety on those who have the most power to put others at risk – aka motorists.

“Despite disputes about this change, it is raising awareness surrounding the dangers of road use.”

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