Driving in Flash Floods


Driving in flash floods can be deceptive, dangerous, destructive and deadly.


Therefore when driving in such conditions extreme caution is necessary.

The best advice is - common sense must prevail. Think before you act!

If it is possible to avoid driving in flood conditions then do so. Cancel your journey.


This sudden on rush of water is normally very rapid and often with little prior warning - hence the term flash flooding.

Driving in flash floods is therefore likely to be more dangerous than driving in snow or fog.

None are recommended and all are likely to cost you time and money.

Flooding by phenomenal amounts of water can and does occur at any time of the year, no matter what the season.

It is important to remember when you are driving in flash floods, along a totally water logged road, you will probably have no idea what is underneath the water ahead of you. This can also apply to driving along a road with just a small amount of water lying - you are virtually driving 'blind'. Now that roads are not so well maintained, this can make insurance more important than ever.

Flooding in general

With some of our roads now in a poor state of repair, even a pot-hole under a shallow depth of water can be deadly and at the very least, cause damage to your car. Unless you are 100% sure do not proceed and drive around the troublesome spot if possible. If possible, wait a moment or two until the way ahead is clear for you. This is not driving in flash floods, just ordinary driving requiring ordinary common sense.

In today’s modern world, flash floods are now more likely to prove troublesome due to the tendency to allow development on flood plains. These have always been there for a purpose – to ease the settlement and drainage of water. When these are removed - i.e., built upon, then the water will still gravitate to the same area with often disastrous consequences.

When a large amount of rain falls over a short period of time, the likelihood of ditches, rivers and lakes becoming filled with water and overflowing into low-lying or poorly drained areas is increased. Some ditches are being neglected due to maintenance costs.

The main areas of trouble are River floods. These occur when the volume of water rapidly increases and the channels cannot cope and overflow. The addition of floating, broken branches and other debris (even abandoned cars) all make the situation worse by impeding the flow of rushing water. Clearing of rivers is the responsibility of the Department of the Environment, who claim they are short of funds, but some of this legislation goes back to the EU.

In an extreme case, a man filled in and grassed over a ditch that ran through the rear part of his garden because he wanted his garden to 'look nice'. The water followed its own course instead of a controlled course, via the ditch and into the river. This resulted in all his neighbours being swamped and a fire engine being required to pump out one of the properties. It was all made worse because he lived at the top of the hill.

The next cause of trouble is Coastal flooding which occurs when coastal areas of land become inundated with sea water either through lack of sea defences, inadequate defences or poorly maintained defences. All can be deadly.

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Urban flooding is now on the increase because of areas being concreted or covered in tarmac making flash floods even more hazardous. In many cases little thought appears to have been given to this yearly event of rain in large amounts and ways of coping with the situation. It will pay to check your insurance policy regarding flood coverage now rather than later.

In addition, many houses now have decked areas in the back gardens and the front gardens have been concreted to prove hard standing for the car.

Where water was able to soak into the land and drain away prior to this construction work, this is now impossible. All these events, when taken as a whole, lead to urban flash floods and driving in flash floods more difficult.

When a sudden downpour of rain is channelled rapidly into a given area where no instant outlet is available this causes trouble. These situations are difficult to avoid.

The best advice is if you must drive, then drive with extreme caution. If you can - stay at home and protect your house!

A flood related topic that might not cross your mind -
Are you thinking of buying a second-hand car?
If so take a look at our page listed below regarding flood damage in cars.

RELATED PAGES

Scrap Cars - Giveacar?

Safe Driving in Rain

Flood Damage in Cars

Driving in Snow

How to Lessen Car/Vehicle Depreciation


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