Here’s how to safely drive through floodwaters without damaging your car

The UK is prone to storms during the winter months, including storms such as Cyclone Barra and Cyclone Arwen.

So when our car encounters heavy rain or floods, what is the safest way to drive?

You should not drain water deeper than four inches


You should not drain water deeper than four inchesCredit: PA: Press Association

Many motorists may think that riding in a car is safe during a storm, but in fact, one-third of all flood deaths are caused by vehicles.

Driving through floodwaters can cause irreparable damage to your engine.

Water can destroy an engine, with just one cup of eggs enough to wipe it out.

And while the door seals are tested to withstand a cataclysm, getting water underneath can damage electrical equipment and even cause the airbags to deploy suddenly at a later date.

AA rescues nearly 10,000 cars a year that have been driven through or stuck in floodwaters with an estimated £34 million insurance bill.

So, what can you do to avoid getting stuck and running thousands of pounds worth of repair bills?

Avoid the flood

First of all, if you know there’s going to be flooding in your area, it’s a good idea to move your car to higher ground for protection.

Just 60cm of standing water will float your car and only 30cm of running water can be enough to move your car.

Drive slowly - no more than 4mph - to avoid engine flooding


Drive slowly – no more than 4mph – to avoid engine floodingCredit: Getty – Contributor

Depth test

If you experience localized flooding on your journey, don’t just carry on – even if you think you’re fine with a large 4×4.

If there are no lines around, consider the water depth.

You can test it yourself if you don’t mind getting wet, or judge it based on your surroundings and if other cars are trying to pass it.

Do not drive into moving floodwaters or deeper than 10cm (4 inches) and let oncoming cars pass first.

Slow down

If you’re out in the car and battling dry weather it’s important to be careful as stopping distances are shortened in wet conditions.

And driving through floodwaters is no rush.

You should enter the water slowly (about 1-2 km / h in the first gear), before accelerating to about 3-4 km / h, keeping the revs up but do not change gears.

This creates a small forward bow wave that will prevent water from backing up into the engine. If you go too fast, the bow wave will be too large and the water will backwash into your engine.

If the water isn’t that deep, don’t charge it through either. Pedestrian immersion is illegal and illegal and can leave you submerged and out of control.

Check your brakes

After driving through a flooded road, always check your brakes immediately. You may need to dry them with gentle braking while driving slowly for a period of time.

A small amount of water is enough to damage your car


A small amount of water is enough to damage your carCredit: Alamy

Watch out for manhole covers and curbs

Water will hide many potential pitfalls on the way.

Chances are the water will be full of dirt and leaves, so check your car for any blockages afterwards.

And watch out for manhole covers and boulders – these can cause your vehicle to lose control. Sticking to the top – the highest part – is the best strategy.

Do not panic

If you’re stuck in flood water, it’s best to wait in your car and call for help rather than trying to get out.

Jumping out and lifting the bonnet is a no-brainer because if it’s still raining, you’ll only get water into the electrical equipment and the engine.

Footage of British backpackers rescued from rising floodwaters in Australia Here’s how to safely drive through floodwaters without damaging your car


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