Friday 14th December 2012
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Driving through floods and making it out the otherside safely, can be quite a challenge. It all depends upon the car and the driver’s experience, whether or not the driver will make it across. Additionally, it is dependant upon how deep the water is. Some cars are built for bad weather and harsh terrain, whilst other cars would simply die when driving through the smallest of floods.

The Dangers of driving through floods

One of the biggest risks is the engine can become flooded whilst driving through floods causing cars to come to a complete standstill half way.

Should you find yourself driving through floods accidently, it is possible the electrics could also short-out (as well as other parts), and the car could lock with the flooded engine. Depending upon the severity of how much water has got into the engine; it could also considerably weigh the car down. The car could even go under and/or the car could even be carried off into deeper water with everyone inside.

Once the car starts to go under or move downstream fast, it is virtually impossible to escape. You will have only a few seconds to think about your situation once it starts to happen.

What should you do if your car is going under during a mega flood?

Firstly, take off your seat belt.

Secondly, use your feet or an object to smash the side windows. Never try to smash the front window, these are manufactured as a whole unit; hence, it will be impossible to shatter. Timing is of the essence here; once the engine has flooded the engine the battery can remain active for approximately two minutes thereafter. Therefore, before using your feet or a multifunctional safety device to escape try the automatic window button to wind them down. Alternatively, there is the sunroof if you have time to open it.

Thirdly, everyone must escape as fast as possible before the water begins to engulf the cabin.

Other cautions driving through floods

If you own a large 4x4, you still have to err on the side of caution; however, these types of cars are one of the safest for driving through floods.

It is not advisable to drive through floods at all; it is very risky and too dangerous.

However, driving through shallow water very slowly is fine. A rough guide would be approximately three to four inches of water. Some professionals agree that six inches is also sensible, but obviously the deeper it is the more dangerous it becomes.

If the road is unfamiliar, park-up and observe other motorists driving through the water. Assess its deepness, observe if there any potholes, dips or gullies.

If you decide to take the plunge, then drive through the shallowest part in first gear at speeds of one to two mph. Keep the engine revving and constantly slip the clutch to avoid stalling. These techniques do not work with beam axle cars such as 4x4’s.

Tip: Observe for ignorant drivers in every direction who think they can drive through deep waters too fast.

Slow driving is paramount in shallow water because fast driving can cause a huge spray. Massive water sprays can engulf the car and no matter how hard those window wipers move; it will be impossible to see oncoming motorists, pedestrians or cars in front or behind. Driving through like a mad man with the goal to escape as fast as you can will undoubtedly cause uncontrollable driving, which could end up in an accident.

Warning, did you know? It is an inconsiderate offence, and is now illegal to soak a pedestrian maliciously. Be aware of many CCTV cameras that now operate on the UK roads.

Once you have driven through the water and have successfully made it out onto dry roads, your brakes will need to dry off.

Dry your brakes by stepping on to the brake pedal slowly a few times. Depending upon the severity of the depth of water, it may be wise to pull over and check the engine and radiator.

Have you had any experiences driving through floods? Please share them here.