How to stay safe when driving through flood water in the UK

Avoid speeding into fairly shallow puddles as this can cause aquaplaning where the front tires no longer steer the car and you lose control. It is also reckless and illegal to water pedestrians.

When you emerge from the water, dry the brakes by gently applying them, and if there were leaves in the water, check the radiator for clogs.

Another thing to watch out for is unpredictable drivers coming the other way. You may follow the best advice, but large SUVs or trucks speeding in the opposite direction can create bow waves so big they can drown your car.

If the worst happens and your car stalls, keep the hood closed to prevent further water ingress, get out, lock the car and wade ashore. In the worst of emergencies, you can attempt to crank the car out by cranking the starter in first or reverse, but few starters can withstand such punishment, so don’t count on it.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the AA strongly advise against entering flood water that is moving or more than 10 cm deep.

According to the AA, a third of deaths caused by flooding can be attributed to a vehicle because drivers take unnecessary risks. In 2020 it saved almost 9,000 vehicles that had driven through or got stuck in flood waters, with an estimated insurance bill of more than £34million.

How to ride in the wind

With the stormy weather Britain is experiencing at the moment, motorists need to be careful on the road. Wind gusts hit your car more often on open roads or when passing bridges or hedge gaps. Drivers must be careful that tree branches and other vehicles become unstable in windy weather.

Top tips to prepare your car for a windy ride

Before you even get in your car when it’s windy, it’s important that your car is properly prepared for the winter weather – so you and other road users have a safe drive.

According to Car Store, it is important to check the following things with your car in order to drive smoothly and safely in stormy weather.

  • Tire tread depth – a minimum of 3mm is recommended in winter
  • tire pressure
  • Fluid levels such as oil, washer fluid and antifreeze
  • outdoor lighting
  • Battery – The AA confirms that battery problems are the number one cause of deployments during the winter months
  • Essential Winter Pack – Shovel, flashlight, high visibility jacket, blanket, extra layers of clothing, sturdy shoes, scraper, windshield washer fluid and refreshments
  • Completely clear ice/snow from all windows and mirrors
  • Scrape snow off the roof of your vehicle

The best tips for riding in the wind

According to the AA website, drivers must keep both hands on the wheel and be prepared for stronger winds on exposed stretches of road — or when overtaking high-sided vehicles.

If you drive in windy weather, also be prepared for sudden gusts as you pass tall buildings – and keep your speed low so you have better control of your car.

It’s also a time to pay special attention to cyclists and motorcyclists, as they are also more vulnerable to sudden gusts of wind. But it is also important to keep your distance from other vehicles.

Watch out for fallen trees – both on the road and overhanging – and use fallen twigs or small branches as a warning that a larger tree may be further down the road.

Avoid towing high-sided trailers in windy conditions and expect lower speed limits or temporary closures due to fallen debris and accidents.

Always plan your trip carefully and check weather and traffic reports as regularly as possible.

This guide has been updated with the latest advice.

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