With Storm Dennis following Storm Chiara and a seemingly never ending series of flood alerts - plus warnings of more intense and more frequent storms as weather patterns change, drivers need to be aware of the dangers of flooding.
Don’t drive through flood water!
We really can’t stress this enough. It’s not just that your car might stop working. There is the danger that fast moving water can sweep your car away - police advise that as little as 30cm of fast flowing water can move a vehicle so you and your car could quickly be moved off the road and into deeper water putting you and your passengers in extreme danger.
Even if this doesn’t happen, flood water can hide issues below the surface. Manhole covers that have been lifted or damage to the road surface. Even if you know the road well under normal circumstances these changes could mean that the water is deeper than you would expect from experience and that your car gets stuck. Getting out of your car into floodwater is also dangerous as you can’t see where you’re putting your feet, holes and grates can be opened up under the surface which again are extremely dangerous. The best thing to do is not drive through flood water in the first place.
The other issue is that driving through even shallow floodwater can be very antisocial. Your car will create a wave which can hit people walking on the pavement or inundate neighbouring properties. If the water is really not very deep, take care and drive slowly. Remember, according to the Road Traffic Act 1988, a person may be charged with the offence of “careless and inconsiderate driving” if they drive “a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or other public place without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or place”. This can include deliberately splashing pedestrians - and the penalties include a fine of upto £3,500 and penalty points.
Park your car safely
If there’s a flood warning in place take action early - it’s a sensible precaution to move your car away from waterways and off low lying areas that flood well before water levels rise. If you leave it later you can put your personal safety at risk, and it’s not worth doing that for a car. Remember that there are very few guarantees once a storm sets in - whilst a steep road might not flood it can sometimes turn into a raging torrent that will sweep debris against your vehicle or even move it. In these conditions it’s not wise to try and move your car. Stay safe and out of harms way.
After the storm
If damage has unfortunately occurred and your car has been flooded you must contact your car insurance company. They will have the car removed and assessed. Flooding is one of the common causes of total loss. If your car suffers total loss then your insurer will make you an offer. Once you have an offer, contact your gap insurer (we hope that’s Direct Gap). It’s not great to be flooded, but we will help get you back on your feet (or wheels) as quickly as possible.
by Beate Kubitz at 27 Feb 2020, 00:00 AM