Are you ready to drive in Heavy Rain and Flooding?
Flooding can happen any time thanks to heavy rainfall, blocked drains, burst water mains, tides and burst river banks with around 5 million people living in flood risk areas in England. Over the last few years the UK has seen an increase in flooding affecting motorists across an increasing number of towns and cities.
Large volumes of water can cause flash-floods, or flooding in urban areas where the sewers and drains can't cope and there is nowhere for the water to soak away. Increased flooding could see an increase in the number of UK Breakdown numbers as prolonged periods of wet weather and damp conditions, causes problems with engines and electrical systems. It is also very easy to flood an engine when driving through water, if done so incorrectly.
A survey, carried out by the AA found almost one in four (23%) of drivers said they are most likely to gauge whether they can drive through flood water on the visibility of the kerbs, while 12% would wait and see if someone else braves the flood water first and then follow them.
Just 30cm of moving water is enough to float a car, and by driving through floodwater, drivers open themselves up to the risk of having to be rescued or getting stranded after their car engine takes in water and stops.
If you hear there’s flooding on your journey, you will need to be careful. Just six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars; this depth can cause loss of control or possible stalling as water is sucked into the exhaust or washes into the air intake. Some four-wheel-drive vehicles are equipped with high level air intakes allowing them to be driven through water several feet deep, however, even 4x4 vehicles can be swept away in fast flowing water.
Here are some tips to help keep you safe when faced with heavy rain and possible flooding.
Driving in heavy rain
- Turn your headlights on – the Highway Code says you must use them when visibility is seriously reduced (less than 100m).
- Use fog lights if you like, but switch them off when visibility improves.
- Leave twice as much space between you and the vehicle in front – it takes longer to stop in the wet.
- If your steering feels light due to aquaplaning, ease off the accelerator and slow down gradually.
- If you break down don't prop the bonnet open while you wait. Rain-soaked electrics can make it harder to start the engine.
Floods and standing water
- Try to avoid driving through standing water.
- Don't drive into flood water that’s moving or more than 10cm (4 inches) deep.
- Let approaching cars pass first. Where possible flooded roads are best negotiated by one vehicle at a time.
- Drive slowly and steadily so you don’t make a bow wave.
- Test your brakes as soon as you can afterwards.
- Look out hazards like kerbs and lifted man-hole covers under the water.
- Do not try to restart an engine that has sucked in water - the plugs or injectors should first be removed to allow the water to be expelled
- If you do get stuck in flood water, it's usually best to wait in the car and call for help rather than try to get out.
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