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Tips For Driving Through Flood Water
Mon Feb 17, 2014

The number one rule is to do your best to avoid flood water if at all possible and take a detour to your planned destination. If this is not possible, here is our quick-guide to try and keep your vehicle out of more trouble;

Walk the Route

It may be a road you have driven down many times but it's easy to be caught out by debris sitting under the surface. If the water is in danger of coming over the top of your wellies take a detour or a dinghy!

Watch Your Ground Clearance

Try to avoid driving through anything deeper than the ground clearance of your car. Once water reaches your car’s floor, the vehicle will start to become buoyant and float. According to the Environment Agency just 12 inches of flowing water can be enough to move a family car; at two foot the same car would simply float away!

Keep the Engine Revs High

To prevent water entering the exhaust pipe it is essential to keep the revs of the engine high so as not to stall. To achieve this and simultaneously keep your speed down, select first gear and slip the clutch if you have to. Automatics are a little less flexible but most will let you manually select the lowest gear. If your car has a selectable four-wheel drive system then make sure this is fully engaged before entering the water.  4x4s fitted with low-ratio boxes provide greater flexibility and with low-ratio engaged the revs will keep higher at any given speed than they would in normal drive.

If you come up against an obstacle causing you to stop or you feel the car begin to float, be prepared to select neutral whilst keeping your foot on the accelerator to keep those engine revs high. If you have to reverse it is essential to keep the engine revs high as you try to reverse out. If the situation looks dire with no-way out then it is advisable to stop the engine before it stalls to avoid internal mechanical damage.

Once you reach dry land touch the brakes to dry them out and be prepared for any car in front to do the same.

Above all do not endanger yourself or others.