Driving in Flood Water
Flooding can hit fast and cover large areas with water quickly; heavy downpours, prolonged rainfall and blocked drainage all contribute to flooding. Paving over our urban areas has severely restricted the grounds ability to drain water runoff sufficiently. Recent flood events in Cornwall saw 4ft of water in some areas and images of abandoned cars and drivers stranded in flooded vehicles have been in the news.
Ideally, do not attempt to drive if the roads are flooded but move your vehicle to higher ground to avoid any damage when it is safe to do so, this may be when a weather warning has been issued. If you feel that driving is unavoidable in severe weather conditions or are perhaps caught in flash flooding consider these points-
Check the news
Regional news bulletins will give out information about road closures and localised flooding. The Met Office will have live weather forecasts for the area and Environment Agency flood warnings may also be issued.
Can I delay the journey?
Is it possible to delay the journey or take an alternative route around the flooded area?
How deep is the water?
If the depth of water is sufficient to allow water to enter the engine this may cause catastrophic damage and lead to hefty repair bills.
- In standing water research shows that as little as 30cm of water can cause vehicles to lose contact with the ground leading to a loss of control.
- In flowing water a depth of 60 cm can carry a vehicle away.
- In deeper water there could also be hidden dangers and hazards that can’t be seen such as missing manhole covers or pot holes.
Reduce your speed
Have some consideration for other road users and pedestrians. Drive at low speed as the bow waves created can flood other vehicles and lead to water entering properties adding to flood damage,
3-4 mph is recommended by Green Flag. Driving at a lower speed will also reduce the potential danger of floodwater to pedestrians as it may be contaminated or contain debris that may cause harm. Leaving more space than usual between you and the car in front can reduce the chances of an accident as stopping distances are increased in wet conditions.
If driving in flood water is avoidable don’t take the risk.
For more infomation on the dangers of driving in flood water and tips on what to do if it is unavoidable, take a look at our infographic.
Sources; RAC Green Flag SMART DRIVING