Road safety in wet weather
With heavy rain forecast in the next few days, we’re urging drivers to take care in wet weather and check their routes before setting out, take it easy, and put safety first.
GEM chief executive David Williams MBE shares these recommendations for driving safely in times of heavy rain and offers advice on what to do if you encounter a flood:
- Expect the unexpected during these conditions. Floods can occur not only because rivers burst their banks, but because surface water is unable to drain away from roads or because water runs off fields and ditches overflow onto roads.
- Driving through any depth of water can be dangerous. Even just six inches – or 15cm – of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars. Above this depth you can lose control or stall the engine because water can be sucked into the exhaust or washed into the air intake.
- To reduce the risk of stalling in a manual car, press the clutch down slightly at the same time as pressing the accelerator. This will help the car move along slowly and should keep water out of the exhaust pipe. Stay in the same gear throughout the flood. In an automatic car, you can consider keeping your foot on the accelerator while using your lowest gear, but control the speed with your footbrake.
- If you stall in a flood, don’t attempt to restart the engine as you will risk severe damage. You’ll need to remove the injectors or plugs to get rid of any water – so the best thing to do is to get out of your vehicle and wade to higher ground, especially if the water is rising. Then, if you’re a GEM member, call us when it’s safe – if you’re not, then call your own breakdown recovery provider
- When you’ve driven through a flood, you’ll need to make sure your brakes are effective – dry them by applying them gently and taking it easy for a few miles after the flood.
GEM has produced a short video with simple advice for drivers on staying safe on wet and flooded roads. The main message from the video is for drivers to postpone journeys and not to go attempt to drive through floods. But for those who get caught, there are tips on maximum depths of water to drive through, paying heed to flood warnings and road blocks, how to reduce the risk of stalling and what to do if you do stall in a flood.