Driving through rain and floods is an increasingly common risk as we battle with the problems of climate change.
Pools of rainwater at the kerbside are easy enough to deal with if you’re looking well ahead. You should avoid them as much as possible. Treat them like a parked obstruction and move out in good time to go around them if you can. Deep water could be hiding a brick or a pothole. The spray could also soak pedestrians. In addition, if you’re on a high speed road, the force of hitting the water can actually cause you to veer off course.
If it’s not possible to avoid the water due to other traffic, you should slow down as a precaution before driving through. This will reduce the risk of damage to your vehicle. Also, if you soak nearby pedestrians with the spray, you are actually committing an offence.
Where rain and floods means the entire road surface is covered, stop and consider. You should first find out just how high the level of flooding is before attempting to cross. If the depth is such that water is likely to reach your engine or enter your exhaust then you should find another route.
When the water is low enough for you to get through, the main thing to remember is to keep your speed down. Hitting high water at any kind of speed is a sure way to disaster, you would either come to a sudden stop or the bow-wave of water would swamp the engine causing it to stall.
If water runs in through the exhaust after stalling it could damage the engine. The only way to negotiate this kind of hazard is to drive slowly through in a low gear, keeping the engine running at a steady rate and slipping the clutch if necessary to keep the engine ‘revs’ high without increasing speed. This helps ensure that water doesn’t enter your exhaust pipe.
Once safely through, you will need to dry your brakes before you attempt to drive at normal speeds. You should test your brakes, and if necessary, drive at a low speed for a short distance with your left foot gently pressing the brake pedal in order to create some heat which will do the job for you.
This is an extract from Driving at Night & in Bad Weather. Buy or download a copy for more advice on driving in rain and floods >>>