Whilst the UK is prone to heavy rain throughout the year, the autumn and winter months are inextricably linked to flooding.

What Do I Need To Know?

As with all potentially hazardous driving scenarios, prevention is key; keep an eye on the weather forecasts before your journey will keep you informed of expected dangers in your area, if flooding is widespread, it would be wise to postpone any unnecessary trips.

Bear in mind:

  • Flash floods are exactly that: fast and unexpected. Usually due to a river breaking its banks – do the rivers in your area flood regularly?
  • Where possible, avoid driving through heavily flooded roads. Flooding hides potholes and dips in the road. Flooding can also wash away the entire road surface and a significant amount of ground beneath – think about that when considering whether to risk driving through.
  • Remember, water doesn’t need to be very deep to reach the underside of your car. This can mean water will be sucked into your engine via your air intake, causing stalling and even permanent damage to the engine.
  • If the road you are driving on is flooded, drive through the middle of the road – it is likely that this will be where the water is shallowest.
  • Pass through flooded sections one at a time – be considerate of other road users.
  • It is possible for cars to start floating in as little as 1 foot of water.
  • Don’t try driving through fast-moving water, it only takes 2 feet of fast moving water to sweep most cars away!

Driving in Heavy Rain

It’s important to watch your speed on roads where there might be unexpected patches of water, it doesn’t take much water to wrest control of your vehicle from you.

Where possible, check the depth of the water you are about to drive through. You should never attempt to drive through water that is more than 25 cms (up to the centre of your wheels in most vehicles).

Potential Dangers

It’s also worth knowing where the air intake is on your engine. If water is sucked into the engine it will stall. Do not try to restart an engine that has sucked in water – it will seriously damage the engine, resulting in expensive repair work.

Using a low gear, drive slowly to avoid creating a large wave. Slipping the clutch and revving the engine will also help to keep the exhaust clear and keep the engine running if water splashes onto the electrics.

Another potential cause of damage in floods is a cracked catalytic converter. This is part of the exhaust system and works at high temperatures; if it comes into contact with very cold water there is a possibility that the rapid contraction of the metal could crack the welded sides – very expensive to replace.

After driving through flooding, it is very important to test your brakes and be prepared to dry them by touching the brake pedal very lightly with your left foot, whilst driving very slowly.

Further Information

If you would like to receive any further information regarding the full range of driving tuition available from Surrey Driving Force, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by either calling 0845 190 2012, texting LESSONS to 81066 or emailing enquiries@surreydrivingforce.com.