Over the past few weeks drivers across the nation have been repeatedly warned to avoid driving through flood water, however even with these warnings it seems as many still choose to take the risk. Along with numerous homes and businesses, a large amount of vehicles across the UK have been damaged by flood water, leading to many being written off by the owners’ car insurance providers.
Just ten days ago a number of motorists on the A1088 near the Tostock and the Woolpit Business Park had to be rescued from their vehicles by soldiers who were luckily passing by with equipment on hand. Discussing the state the cars were in, a spokesman from the Suffolk Police said: “The water was up to the steering wheel and the woman was hanging out of the car window when crews arrived.” Not only does this show the extent of the flooding in the Suffolk area, but also the amount of danger the motorists put themselves in by choosing to drive through flood water.
Incidents such as this is why members of the police and fire services across the country are continuing to remind motorists to stay safe while on the road, and avoid driving through flood water at all costs. Peter Cleary, Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service’s area manager for safety, even issued a statement saying: “Many cars will start to float in as little as 30cm of water and 60cm of free flowing water can sweep away most vehicles, including large 4x4s, so it’s essential drivers avoid flood water, as they could get into difficulty easily.”
However, it’s not just getting stuck or swept away that drivers should be careful of, as was recently shown in Chertsey where an Audi sports care was stripped of its parts after it was abandoned in the floods. The Audi RS5, worth an estimated sixty thousand pounds, was left on the Chertsey Road, and in a matter of weeks was stripped down to its chassis. A resident who spotted the demise of the Audi, said: “I first noticed the Audi abandoned in the flooded road on January 2 at about 8am.
“I tweeted a picture mainly to alert people of the road closure. Since then I have driven there several times in the hope that the road would open again and watched the Audi gradually deteriorate. The windows were smashed, a bollard was placed on its roof and it was generally vandalised. Today I found the road open and stopped to inspect the Audi. I was shocked at how much had been stripped from the vehicle.”
In order to ensure your vehicle isn’t damaged due to flood water, it is essential you avoid areas that have experienced heavy flooding as much as possible. Naturally, local police and firemen have already closed some of the worst affected roads, however with the speed that flooding occurs this is not always possible. Therefore, if you find yourself on a flooded road it is essential you either turn back, or call for help as soon as you realise you are stuck. It is also advisable for all motorists to keep an emergency kit in their vehicles at all times until the weather and flooding has improved, especially if you are planning on driving at night.
There will be times however where you will come to a road with a small amount of flood water, yet not enough to warrant turning around and finding another route. If you do decide to drive through a small amount of water it is essential you know how to do it correctly, otherwise you could irrevocably damage your vehicle, leading to car insurance quotes being more expensive for you in the future.
When approaching the water slow down as much as possible, and stay in first gear. Once in the water, keep the revs up as high as possible so that you don’t lose momentum, yet at the same time remember to stay as slow as possible. If you drive through the water too quickly you risk water entering your air intake and going into your engine, ultimately destroying it. Once you have driven through the water make sure your car is still running normally, paying special attention to your brakes, and if you notice any issues pull over and contact your breakdown provider straight away.