Driving When The Roads Are Flooded
Only one foot of flood water may cause most vehicles to float. Most flood-related injuries are to drivers and their passengers!
Common sense dictates it's always best to avoid driving if roads are flooded. However, if your journey is unavoidable there are certain things to bear in mind when underway.
Drive slowly and evenly in first gear, as deceleration can cause water to travel up the exhaust. Maintain a speed whereby a small bow wave is formed at the front of the car.
Avoid driving on submerged stretches of road especially if there are oncoming vehicles. Seven inches of flood water will cover the underside of most road going vehicles, leading to a loss of steering and engine cut out.
If water enters the air intake system substantial damage can occur. Catalytic converters, (which operate at high temperatures and are expensive to replace), can become cracked. Therefore it is best to avoid travelling through water if you are unsure how deep it is.
When it is safe to do so, repeatedly apply the brakes gently once you have cleared the water, this will help to dry the brakes out.
Also consider that flood water may cause significant damage to your vehicle.
Driving In A Downpour
In heavy rain visibility is greatly reduced, so driving with headlights on is advisable.
Stopping distance is lengthened on wet surfaces, so maintaining a greater distance between your vehicle and the one in front is important, as well as driving at a reduced speed.
The risks of aqua-planing are greatly increased in flood conditions. As you would when driving in the rain, remember to drive further back from the vehicle in front than you would in dry conditions.