How to drive through flood water

Driving through wet and ‘orrible conditions can often be nerve-wracking at the best of times, but what happens if you’re driving along to find that your road now has a river running through it? While it may seem tempting to charge through it, as if you’re being filmed for YouTube views at Rufford Ford, that may not be the best option if you want your car to keep running afterwards. Let Scrap Car Comparison guide you through how to keep your car motoring along safely after driving through flood water.

If you’ve come a cropper as a result of a flooded road, or perhaps you’re looking to get rid of a tired old hatchback and get yourself a big, burly 4×4 to get through the worst of the weather, then Scrap Car Comparison is here to help. We work with scrap and salvage specialists up and down the country, which means that no matter where you call home, we’ll find you the very best price for your set of wheels. All it takes is one phone call to our team of friendly experts, and before you know it we’ll be coming to get your car from your doorstep – at no cost to you! Get started today to see just how much your car could be worth.

What to do when its raining heavily

There can be no flood without rain, usually of the heavier persuasion, so in order to know how to drive through floodwater, you’ll also need to know how to drive in heavy rain, too. So, what do you do once the rain starts bolting down?

Headlights on

Not only is this a given in terms of safety, it’s also a legal requirement as per the Highway Code to ensure that your headlights are illuminated when visibility is reduced to below 100 metres. You can use your fog lights if you feel they are required, but you must make sure they’re switched off again when visibility improves.

Mind the gap

When driving in the rain, your grip levels are reduced and stopping distances greatly increased – as a result you should leave twice as much space between you and the car in front in torrential rain. This is to ensure that if you do need to make an emergency stop at any point, you are much less likely to end up in the back of the vehicle you were following.

When things go wrong

If you feel yourself starting to aquaplane – that is, when the water gets between you and the road surface, rendering you nothing more than a passenger – your best course of action is to ease off the accelerator and gradually slow down. Don’t try to power through, as this could make things much worse for you. Additionally, if you break down in heavy rain, try to avoid popping the bonnet, as you could find yourself with some of the issues you may have if you drive through a flooded road, which brings us nicely onto the rest of this article…

Can you damage your car by driving through flood water

Absolutely. Anyone who has seen video footage of floods can know just how much damage they can do – in fact there’s a rather nice little tearoom round the corner from this writer’s home, and it has been closed for almost six months following a flood (which is a shame as it does a stonking Welsh rarebit, but hey ho). If the flood water gets into your car, then it could quite easily cause significant damage to your upholstery, but the biggest concern is if it gets into your engine or your electrical systems. If it gets into either of these, the results could be catastrophic.

What to do if you approach a flood

Let’s all admit it, the big splash you get from going through a big puddle is fun; it’s like going on your own personal log flume. But, and we’re fairly sure this goes without saying but we feel compelled to point it out – it isn’t safe. Your best course of action is to slow down to a crawl to avoid any potential headaches, as well as to stop any water flowing onto pavements or soaking pedestrians and cyclists, which can land you a fine and points on your licence.

If the floodwater is deeper than 10cm or is moving, then do not go through as this could potentially be lethal. Remember it only takes an egg cup of water to be sucked into your engine to cause catastrophic damage.

Can I claim on my insurance if I get stuck in flood water

As is often the case with insurance questions, there isn’t an easy one-size-fits-all answer, but you can probably assume that if you’re stuck following an attempt to drive through a flood, you aren’t going to get a payout. If you have been stuck overnight or in a sudden deluge, and have done everything within your power to protect your car, then you could find your insurers will help you out.

What happens if I get stuck in flood water

In the absolute worst case scenario for you, your car will be swept up while you’re stuck in the water and you’ll just have to sit and wait to see where it ends up. It only takes 30cm of water to move a car, and 60cm will certainly float it. Whatever happens, if you’re stuck, then you’ll need to call 999 and get rescued sooner rather than later. As soon as you’ve been pulled back to dry land, you’ll want to make sure your car hasn’t suffered any ill effects after its soaking, as we’ve already discussed, water can wreak havoc on a car’s gubbins.

How do I know if water got in my engine

If you’ve gone through water, there are a few telltale signs that it’s made its way into your engine:

  • A fast, cranking sound, or a whirring noise, when you try to start the engine.
  • An abnormally strong smell of petrol, particularly coming from the exhaust pipe
  • Your car simply won’t start, or cuts out almost immediately after starting.

What is the deepest water you can drive through

There is no hard and fast rule about how much water can be driven through, but generally it’s a bad idea to drive in water higher than 10cm. If you have a 4×4 that sits higher on the road – or has an external snorkel fitted – then you can get away with driving through deeper waters.

How to drive safely when there is standing water

Safely driving through standing water is a slow process, but it’s important to stay patient as getting a little heavy with your right foot could result in you creating a bow wave as you drive through. Slow, steady movements are your best course of action, and do not stop – once you’re committed, you’re committed and you’ll find getting started again even more difficult. Once you’ve made it through, find a safe spot to test your brakes, and if all is okay, then you can carry on your way.

If you haven’t followed the advice above and your car has suffered the ill effects of a quick dip, then it may be time to send it off on one final journey to the scrapyard. By using Scrap Car Comparison, you’re guaranteed to get the very best price for your car, and with specialists in all four corners of the country, we’ll even come and collect your car absolutely free of charge. Get started today and before you’ll know it your troubled car will be disposed of and you’ll have a nice wad of cash in your bank account. All it takes to find out just how much is to pick up the phone to one of our friendly team members and provide them with your postcode and registration number.

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