How to avoid flood water damage
The UK has been absolutely battered by wind, rain and floods recently. This means that many of our usual driving routes will now resemble The River Itchen and be submerged in flood water. While this flood water can be treacherous to pass in your vehicle its not always possible to avoid. Flooding of course can happen at any time whether its from a sudden down pour, flash flood or you live in a flood prone area.
As a garage that offers repair work alongside MOT tests and car servicing, we've seen plenty of water damaged cars. This damage is often avoidable and knowing how to navigate flooded roads is an essential part of driving which is why in this blog we will provide you with valuable tips on how to drive through flood water whilst minimising the risks
Assess the situation
The first and most crucial step when encountering a flooded road is to assess the situation. Don't attempt to drive through the water until you've gathered sufficient information about the depth, current, and overall conditions of the flood. If the water is moving swiftly or you can't see the road beneath it, it's best to avoid driving through it. It only takes 30cm of fast moving water to be able to move a vehicle and only 15cm to take you off of your feet.
Consider alternative routes
If there is the option to take an alternative route you should consider taking it. This may take a little longer but is the best way to guarantee that your car doesn't suffer any damage from flood water. We understand however that this is not always possible so read on to find out the best ways to cross flood water.
Understand the capabilities of your vehicle
Understanding just what your vehicle is capable of is essential is assessing the risk factor of crossing flood water. If you're in a large vehicle with high ground clearance and good off road capabilities you'll be much better prepared for action than a low sitting vehicle. If you don't think that your car is up to the job, it's time to turn around. If this is a regular problem and you need to change into a bigger car, we are always on hand to help with your next used car purchase.
Watch and wait
If you see other vehicles successfully navigating the flooded road, it's tempting to follow suit. However, be cautious, as you can't always gauge the depth and current from a distance. Cars in front of you might get stuck, and you could find yourself in a dangerous situation. It's better to be patient and wait for the floodwaters to recede to best judge the depth and current.
Maintain a Slow and Steady Pace
If you do decide to drive through a flooded area, proceed slowly and steadily. Use first or second gear to maintain a slow pace and prevent water from splashing into your engine and exhaust. This minimizes the risk of hydro locking, a situation where water enters the engine and can cause severe damage. It is important to understand that it takes less than a cups worth of water to cause serious damage to most engines so you really don't want to be taking on any water unnecessarily.
Keep Your Engine Revs Consistent
To prevent water from entering the exhaust system, keep your engine revs consistent and avoid excessive acceleration or deceleration. This can help maintain a consistent exhaust pressure, reducing the likelihood of water entering the engine. It is important to keep moving forwards and not stop once you have started to cross the water.
Stay in the Center of the Road
If the water is shallow and the road's contours allow it, drive in the center of the road. This is often the highest point of the road and is the best place to be to stay above water and increase visibility when driving. Staying in the middle of the road also does a service to other drivers as they have more time to see you and react accordingly.
Be wary of submerged hazards
Flood water can hide plenty of dangerous obstacles that could cause damage to your vehicle which of course means vehicle repair work will be needed. One particularly nasty hazard is drain covers that have been lifted or moved by the water. With drain covers sticking out at unusual angles there is a danger that you could catch your wheels or underside of your vehicle on them. There is also the risk that your cars wheels could become caught in an open drain. For this reason it is important to drive carefully through flood water.
Think your car could be water damaged? consult your local garage
If you have driven through flood water and believe your car may have suffered damage or just want to have it checked over you should contact E&J Jarvis car servicing and repair centre so that we can help with repairs.