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14.10.2015 How to drive in flood water

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Now that The Great British Autumn is fully underway, the chances are that it’ll be raining non-stop now for about another six months. And while this may be inconvenient, it’s also potentially dangerous.

Flood water can catch you out big time on the road, and not only can water ruin things like your car’s electrics, if it’s deep enough it could even carry your car away.

What’s more likely, however, is that the water could get sucked into your engine -- all engines suck air in and on many modern cars the air intake is mounted quite low. And if this happens, it’s game over your engine and, in all likelihood, your car too.

The easiest way to avoid damaging your car with flood water is, unsurprisingly, to avoid flood water. If there’s an alternative route, take it. If you can’t avoid it, however, here’s a list of tips which should help you drive through safely:

  • Don’t set off if a vehicle is approaching you.
  • Drive on the highest section of the road.
  • Leave time and space to avoid swamping other cars and pedestrians.
  • If you can’t see where you’ll exit the water, such as when approaching flooding on a bend, think twice about driving into it.
  • Once in the water, keep the revs up, stay in a low gear and slip the clutch if necessary to keep your speed down; you don’t want to create a bow wave in front of your car, by driving too fast. Maintaining revs helps prevent the water from travelling up the exhaust pipe and into the engine.
  • If you have to stop in the water, keep the engine revs up. Let the revs drop or stall the engine and you’ll probably be stranded.
  • Once you’re out of the water, dry the brakes before you need them. Check there’s nobody behind, then apply the brakes as you drive along for a few seconds.

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