In this section
Flooding can happen anywhere and at any time of year, causing major disruption to both property and the road network.
Driving through flood water can be very dangerous, causing significant damage to vehicles as well as serious injury to drivers and passengers. There is also a high risk of a vehicle seizing and getting stuck in flood water.
There are other hidden dangers of flood water. There are hazards that can damage your vehicle, and just an egg-cupful of water sucked into your engine will lead to severe damage. Hidden dangers in flood water could include:
- Washed away or damaged roads
- Inability to see the road edge
- Raised or missing drain covers
- Contaminated water
If a road is flooded, turn around and find another route. You should never drive through flood water!
The number one cause of death during flooding is driving through flood water, so the safest advice is turn around – don’t put yourself at risk.
Stay away from swollen rivers and do not attempt to walk or drive through flood water. Although the water may seem shallow, just 12 inches (30cm) of moving water can float your car, potentially taking it to deeper water from which you may need rescuing.
Driving in the rain
If there is water on the road, slow down, reduce your speed and leave a greater gap between you and the vehicle in front. Use your dipped headlights so other road users can see you more clearly.
Remember, stopping distances will increase in the wet because tyres have less grip on the road. Testing your vehicle’s brakes gently is a necessity to get rid of any excess moisture.
Finally, drivers should never move or ignore ‘Road Closed’ signs – they are there to protect all road users. The road is not safe to be driven on and should be avoided at all costs. If a driver ignores a road closed sign and proceeds into the flood and ruins the vehicle, insurance companies may refuse to pay out.