Being British we do like to talk about the weather and we certainly seem to be getting all the extremes lately! In the winters of the past, snow was always a major concern when driving but today rain and flooding seem to be the biggest worry. As we saw from Storm Angus a few weeks ago, things can certainly get wet pretty quickly at this time of year and it may not be too long before you find yourself sitting in your car pondering the question: ‘Can I drive my car through that enormous puddle?’
Of course you should never attempt to drive your vehicle through any standing water but if you do find yourself in a situation where you have little or no choice we have put together a quick guide to help you navigate flood water on the roads as safely as possible.’
1. Take it slow
This is key when attempting to drive through floodwater. Driving fast is likely to drown your engine and leave you stranded looking foolish. Keep the vehicle in first gear and crawl through the water keeping the engine revs up to avoid water entering the exhaust pipe.
2. Size matters
Yes it’s true and if you happen to carry an type of measuring device with you in the car then check the water depth if possible. Remember that it’s best to avoid any standing water that is deeper than six inches and flowing water deeper than four inches.
3. Make a pretty bow
Entering the water at one or two mph and then increasing the speed slowly to three or four mph will create a bow at the front of the vehicle, pushing water away from the engine bay.
4. Become a voyeur
If in doubt, park up near the offending water and wait for another driver to attempt it. If they’re successful you have peace of mind, if they aren’t you seek an alternative route. However, always remember to offer the other driver assistance before heading off.
5. Dry your brakes
When you have successfully made it to the other side don’t just confidently speed off because you may get a nasty surprise at the next junction when you can’t stop! Once you are free of the water drive away slowly, braking gently occasionally to dislodge any excess water, mud or leaves from the brakes.
6. Remember, there are other ‘less sensible’ drivers everywhere!
All of the advice that you have just read may be for nothing if you don’t pay attention to other drivers. In flooded road situations there will always be the driver who will race through the water at full speed, drowning your car and effectively ruining your chances of a successful crossing. Make sure no one is around before you enter the water. The added wait will be worth it when you watch a bad driver flood their engine and have to wait for a rescue service!
So over the coming winter months please be safe on the roads at all times whatever the weather. If you have any questions or require any assistance in respect of your motor insurance please don’t hesitate to call us on 01732 471 950.