Driving through flood water safely

Lesson Type
Last updated: 12 Nov 2019

It might not have been a white Christmas, but we’ve certainly had our fair share of adverse weather conditions over the festive period. With parts of the UK having been covered in floodwater over the past couple of weeks, we thought now would be a good time to share some valuable advice on driving through flood water.

Look out for weather warnings

Check for any weather warnings in your area before driving. The Met Office will issue a weather warning if there is flooding or a flood risk in your area.

The colour of the warning indicates how severe it is:

  • Green: No severe weather

  • Yellow: Be aware

  • Orange: Be prepared

  • Red: Take action

Depending on the severity of the weather warning in your area, it might not be safe to travel, and any driving lessons you've scheduled may be cancelled. If the advice for drivers is to stay home, don’t ignore it.

Don’t risk it

If you do have to drive when there’s a risk of a flood, be very careful when driving through water. The depth of water can be deceptive, and what you think is ‘just a puddle’ could actually be a good few inches deep.

Not only does the risk of getting trapped make it dangerous to drive through flood water, but you could also ruin your car. As the AA explain, ‘it takes only a tiny amount of water to wreck your engine’, so it’s not worth the risk.

Driving through shallow water

If you are 100% sure water is shallow, it’s OK to drive through it as long as you do so slowly and carefully.

Slow down before your reach the water, and drive through slowly to make sure you don’t create a wave. If there’s a car coming the other way, stop and let them pass through first.

Flood water and your insurance

If you damage your car by driving through flood water, your insurance company might refuse to pay out. It’s not just a case of letting your car dry out either – a flooded car, in most cases, will be a write off.

So, if you don’t want to end up forking out for a new car, don’t take the risk when it comes to driving through flood water!

Image via Akuppa John Wigham.