Driving Through the Floods

Most of the U.K woke up to torrential downpours and battering gale force winds this Monday morning. No doubt you have seen some of the pictures on the morning news as you’ve dashed out to work. Perhaps you have heard a little about it on the radio station while you have begun your morning commute?

This year has been one of the wettest on record with floods affecting many parts of the U.K over the past year. Could this be a growing trend? If so we as a nation will need to start preventing damage that could be done to our vehicles. A lack of road awareness during the rainy periods could be disastrous for the economy. Here are some of Want Driving Lessons car facts to take into consideration during flood season:

It is actually quite surprising how little rain water is needed to damage a car rendering it un-roadworthy.Did you know that merely one foot of water will float almost any vehicle.

Just six inches of fast flowing water will be enough to knock you off your feet. It will be hard to regain control once this happens. This effect is the same when it comes to your car: Six inches of rain water will reach the floor of most vehicles. These six inches may not make a great deal of difference at first- it might be tempting to continue to drive through it hoping that you will be able to find some higher ground. But within minutes it will cause a loss of control, plus there will be the chance of stalling. And two feet or more of rushing water will sweep away any vehicle, including the larger vans and minibuses.

Just an egg cup full of rain water is enough to wreck the whole engine if it is found in the combustion chamber of the car. 

Putting your foot down fully on the gas pedal through standing water is dangerous; tyres will lose contact with the road so all control will be lost. No matter how much you try and move the car using the steering wheel, it will not work. This is known as ‘Aquaplaning’ and is an extremely dangerous action. If you do happen to experience this hold the steering wheel gently and lift your foot off the gas pedal until you get a grip on the road.

But even driving through that still standing water can cause you some very expensive damages! For example the air intake that your car will take in from the front is normally very low. But with floods, rain water and small pieces of debris will also be sucked in through the grill. Not only is water itself a main culprit for water damage but also smaller stones or grit will only add to the damage. Every type of engine will be affected by this, but especially turbo-charged and diesel engines.

Other things to keep in mind are that water in the exhaust could cause damage to the catalytic converter. One way to help prevent this is to drive in a lower gear, and ease off the gas pedal rather than constantly revving the engine.

If you do happen to break down in heavy rain, it’s not a good idea to prop the bonnet open while waiting for the rescue services to arrive. This will only make things difficult when trying to restart the engine.

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