Flood driving tips
Home Safety Information Floods and Standing Water

Floods and Standing Water

  • Do not drive unless your journey is absolutely necessary.
  • Take spare dry clothing, food, a flask of hot drink and if you have a mobile phone make sure you have the telephone number for contacting the emergency services.
  • If you have to drive in a flooded area take care. Only drive through water if you know how deep it is. Many vehicles require only two feet of water before they float.
  • If you have to drive through a flood try to drive in the highest section of the road if it is safe to do so.
  • Drive slowly and steadily to avoid creating a bow wave.
  • Driving fast through standing water is dangerous - tyres lose contact with the road and you lose steering control in what's known as 'aquaplaning'. Watch out for standing water, trying to avoid it if you can, and adjust your speed to the conditions. If you do experience aquaplaning, hold the steering wheel lightly and lift off the throttle until the tyres regain grip.
  • Driving fast through standing water can cause expensive damage - the air intake on many cars is low down at the front of the engine bay and it only takes a small quantity of water sucked into the engine to cause serious damage. All engines are affected but turbo-charged and diesel engines are most vulnerable.
  • Do not drive through flood water if a vehicle is travelling in the opposite direction.
  • Don't try driving through fast-moving water, such as at a flooded bridge approach - your car could easily be swept away.
  • As you drive slowly through standing water keep the engine revving by slipping the clutch, otherwise water in the exhaust could stall the engine.
  • Test your brakes thoroughly after leaving the flood water.