High winds and torrential rain have continued to dominate the UK during the past few weeks and it is showing no signs of letting up, which is why it is more important than ever to take care and drive safely on the roads.
Driving through flood water is a risky business, whilst many cars will manage to get through severe floods, there still remains a number of potential dangers such as shorted-out electrics, or major risks such as your engine sucking in water causing a hydraulic lock. Or, if the water is fast moving there is even the risk your car could be carried off into deeper flood water with you still inside.
If you simply can’t avoid the floods, follow some steps below on how to handle them:
Before you drive through any water, make sure there is no more than 6 inches of standing water or 4 inches of moving water. A good way to ascertain whether your car will make it is to park up first and observe how other vehicles are handling it. In particular, look out for hidden dips and gullies where the water could be deeper.
If you decide to take the plunge, stay on the crown of the road where possible, and drive through the water very slowly in first gear. Keep the engine revs up to avoid water entering the exhaust pipe. Do not try to exit the flood quickly as an increase in speed could push water into the engine bay.
Even if the puddle looks fairly shallow, avoid driving too fast into it as it could lead to aquaplaning where the tyres will no longer steer the car and you will ultimately lose control. This is not only highly dangerous for you but also for pedestrians.
When you emerge from the flood water, dry the brakes by pressing gently on them. It is also a good idea to check the radiator matrix for any blockages which could be caused by leaves or debris contained in the flood water.
Keep an eye out for reckless drivers who might be coming towards you – you might be taking all the advice on board but if a larger 4×4 or truck comes the other way it could create waves large enough to drown your car.
If you do find your car gets stuck in a flood and stops, make sure you leave the bonnet closed to avoid any further water intake. Get out of the car, lock it then head for dry land and call the emergency services.