A fifth of motorists have been put off a car journey because of the rain over the past year, according to new research.
The UK was hit by a series of torrential downpours last month following Storms Ciara, Dennis and Jorge, with the Met Office reporting the wettest February on record.
But a survey of 2,000 motorists has revealed how much of a hindrance the wet weather is – with 19 per cent admitting they had avoided driving because of the rain.
And 12 per cent of drivers, which is the equivalent of four million motorists, said they had been prevented from getting to their destination because of heavy downpours.
It also emerged one in 20 of those surveyed said they had been involved in an accident because of the rain, with nine per cent having a near miss.
The research was conducted by tyre brand Uniroyal, which uses technology inspired by shark skin in its tyres, making them ideal for wet weather driving.
Its new RainSport 5 has wide bi-directional drainage grooves, which combined with the shark skin technology enables water to be rapidly dispersed from under the tyre.
As the tyre wears and the tread depth decreases, the tyre’s sipes – which are thin slits across the rubber – change shape and become wider to increase the water displacement capability and reduce the risk of aquaplaning.
The survey, conducted by OnePoll for Uniroyal, also found 36 per cent of motorists didn’t know how to handle their car when it aquaplanes.
In the event of aquaplaning, motorists should take their foot off the accelerator and allow their speed to reduce until they feel in control again. They should not brake until they have regained control of the vehicle.
“Heavy rain can make driving a hazardous experience and we always advise motorists to watch their speed and leave a gap of at least four seconds between themselves and the car in front,” said Peter Robb, safety expert at Uniroyal Tyres.
“We advise regularly checking the tyre tread depth on your vehicle. For safety when driving in the rain or on wet roads, we recommend that tyres should have a minimum tread depth of 3mm.
“Even if you’re driving with specialist rain tyres like Uniroyal, your stopping distance will be greater on wet roads than on dry roads.
“Our new RainSport 5 tyre is designed in a way that disperses the rainwater better, allowing the tyre greater control of the road.
“Using ‘shark skin’ technology for faster water clearance ensures our tyre keeps you safe on wet roads. It means you can be prepared and ready for the rain when it comes, which it will.”