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Storm season: keep your car safe from flooded roads

6 minutes

It’s best to avoid driving in stormy weather if you can but would you know what to do when faced with flash floods?

Our guide can help you drive safely following a heavy storm and spot the dangers of flash flooding on the roads.

We’ve also got some tips if you’re not sure how you should drive in heavy rain, snow and other weather conditions.

Why shouldn’t you drive through deep water?

Getting a significant amount of water in your car is obviously not good, and not just because it can wreck your seats and the rest of the interior.

Drive through a flooded road and you risk getting water in your engine, too, which can easily cause a breakdown. And what about your car’s electrical system? It’s no secret you really wouldn’t want to get that wet!

Did you know just four inches of fast-flowing water is enough to move your car? So, even if you see someone else trying it first, you should always be wary of driving through a flood.

What should I do if the road’s flooded?

1. Look for another way

When it comes to flooding, an alternative route is often your best course of action. You should only ever risk driving through a flash flood if you really have no other option.

2. Check it out

How deep’s the water and what’s the road like under there? A rule of thumb is you shouldn’t drive through anything over half a foot deep. In other words, don’t try crossing anything that would reach the top of your welly boots!

Following a storm and high winds, you should also beware of any possible hidden dangers, like debris or a loose power cable. Electricity and water can be a hazardous mix.

3. Aim high and go slow

Normally, the middle is the highest point of any road and so should hold less water. If there’s anything coming the other way, then it’s best to wait.

Slow down before even attempting to cross and be on the lookout for any large holes or a potential dip in the road that could contain deeper water.

4. Enter the water at 1-2mph

It’s recommended you keep your car in first gear and go easy on the accelerator when you first hit the water. This will help you keep your car under control.

5. Keep your revs up

When you’re in, watch your speed and try not to stall. Going around 4 or 5mph can help displace some of the water and reduce the risk to your engine.

High revs reduce the chance of water getting drawn into your exhaust.

6. Time to brake

Once you’re across, safe and dry, remember your brakes may not be so lucky! If you want them to do their job properly, brakes need to be nice and dry, too.

Taking care, and taking it slow, gently press your brake pedal at regular intervals over the course of the next mile or two. This will warm your brakes, helping them get back to normal working order.

7. Stuck in a flood?

In the event your engine’s stopped and you’re stranded in a deep puddle, get out if you can and remember to lock your car doors before getting yourself safely to dry land.

Mind your step – the ground may not be level underneath the water and there could be other hidden dangers, like trip hazards.

8. Call for help

Always contact the Emergency Services if you're worried for your safety.

You may also like to read our tips on how to drive in snow and prepare your car for winter and, for your peace of mind on the roads, even in good weather, check out flexible car insurance from Flow.