In this short video clip you can see large puddles on the nearside verge which are best avoided if possible to maintain safety.

You can see my pupil is carefully manoeuvering the car by just a foot or two when she sees large pools of water. And for good reason. When a vehicle drives through a large pool of water it can upset the general handling and stability of the vehicle. The nearside tyres for instance could effectively be “floating” on the water while the offside tyres are still in contact with the road surface. This aquaplaning is best avoided if possible. Suddenly the driver can feel a sharp tug on the steering wheel while the vehicle is momentarily battling the differing forces on it. The best course of action is to avoid the water by adjusting the position even slightly can be useful.

Generally, the deeper water is nearer to the edge of the road so a minor adjustment towards the centre can prevent the nearside wheels from being submerged in deeper water. The driver has to take care and assess whether the width of the road can accommodate such a positional change without unduly affecting oncoming traffic. If it is not possible then at the very least, the speed should be reduced to minimise the impact on the vehicle.

Tread depth, tyre pressure and general tyre condition need to be monitored at all times of the year because the tyres work very hard to maintain control of the vehicle on all different road surfaces and weather conditions. It is the responsibility of the owner of the vehicle to ensure the tyres are maintained for optimal performance.

The other problem with large pools of water on the road and verge is what is hiding beneath the water surface. There could be objects, perhaps even large or heavy, which cannot be seen and will cause damage to tyres if driven over. There may be large or deep potholes that cannot be seen which could also create a flat tyre or perhaps even damage the wheel and/or suspension. The problem for the driver is they just don’t know, and so it is good defensive driving to avoid driving through large puddles. Sometimes the water drainage system cannot handle the volume of water when it rains heavily for a long period of time, and it has been known before for the metalwork of the drainage (manhole covers and drains) to lift upwards such is the volume of water underneath it. The force of the water under the heavy metalwork is sufficiently high to actually cause the drainage cover to lift up causing a significant hazard to a vehicle if it drove over it.

Driving through a large puddle may create a thrill for some drivers and passengers and look pretty spectacular but it is best avoided as the resultant spray of water can either momentarily prevent a driver from being able to see through their windscreen (including oncoming vehicles), but the driver can lose control of braking and steering ability if the tyres momentarily lose traction with the road surface.

Spare a thought for pedestrians who are walking alongside the road too. There is nothing funny about being sprayed from a vehicle going through a puddle with cold, dirty water.