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Water & Flood Driving Advice

by Fraser · 72 comments

in Safety & Security

It is likely through the winter months that you will encounter some flood water, either as large puddles on the road, or where a river/stream has burst its banks.

Take a different route where possible.

Never drive through flood water when you cannot see the ground under the water. It could be far deeper than you imagine, and if it is a river in flood there is a danger you and your vehicle could be swept away.

  • On encountering flood water, get out and check the depth. Water which comes above the bottom edge of your door can cause problems with the engine. Water can get splashed up into the engine compartment, leading to stalling.
  • Drive slowly. Put your vehicle in 1st gear and maintain a very slow, steady speed. If you hit flood water at speed you will first lose control, then come to an abrupt stop.
  • If you do stall in deep water, get someone to tow you out. If you are unsure of the depth of the water, or if it is moving water, stay in the vehicle and await rescue. Use your mobile phone to call for assistance.

If you have been driving through flood water, even if your vehicle seems fine, take time to check it over before driving it again.

  1. First, walk around your vehicle looking for any obvious scratches, bumps, cracks or things hanging off.
  2. Next, check the interior for damage. Look at the upholstery, carpets and door panels for areas of damp. If you find damp patches, don’t be tempted to just leave them to dry out – this will result in a rather unpleasant musty, damp smell. Instead, take your vehicle to a garage and have it professionally cleaned and dried.
  3. Check the engine oil and transmission fluid. If the fluid on the dipstick looks diluted, milky or beige, then water has got in. It is advisable not to drive your vehicle at this point, as it may cause further damage to the internal components of the car. Instead, have it towed to your nearest garage for repair.
  4. Check the air filter. If it is damp, replace it and change the oil.
  5. Take a bit of time to look underneath the vehicle for stuck-on dirt, mud, grass and bits of debris. If you spot any, wash it off as soon as possible to avoid it causing damage to the undercarriage.
  6. The brake system is crucial so it is best to take it to your nearest garage to have it professionally checked.
  7. Check the lights and indicators for rust and water damage. If there is water in them, replace the bulb.
  8. While the engine is running, listen for any abnormal running sounds, and have them checked out as soon as possible.

Remember – It is better to go through the time and costs of checking your vehicle now, rather than wait until the vehicle is in need of greater repair, or causes an accident.

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