When a large amount of rain falls over a short period of time, ditches, rivers and lakes become filled with water and overflow into low-lying or poorly drained areas. In addition to the high frequency of excessive rainfall events, the impacts of flooding in Britain may increase as the country's urban development grows.
There are many types of flood that can occur around the country :
- River Floods : These floods occur when surface water flow rises and channels overflow.
- Coastal Floods : These floods occur when coastal areas of land become inundated with sea water.
- Urban Floods : Built-up areas can experience up to 6 times greater run off than rural areas due to abundant concrete and tarmac surface cover, therefore heavy rainfall can turn streets into swiftly moving rivers of rainfall runoff.
- Flash Floods : When precipitation in a particular watershed is channelled quickly to the outflow point of the basin, a sudden increase in discharge can be caused. These floods usually occur within 6 hours of a large rainfall event.
Useful tips for Drivers in flooded areas
If you live in an area where flooding may occur, move your vehicle to higher ground if flooding is expected. As well as the risk of damage to your vehicle by leaving it in a flooded area, it may also be a hazard or cause obstruction to emergency services.
- Do not drive unless your journey is absolutely necessary.
- If you have to drive in a flooded area take care. Do not attempt to drive through water if you are unsure of the depth.
- Don't drive through fast-moving water, such as at a flooded bridge approach as your car could be swept away
- Drive slowly and steadily to avoid creating a bow wave, and allow on-coming traffic to pass first.
- Keep the engine revving by slipping the clutch otherwise water in the exhaust could stall the engine.
- Modern vehicles are fitted with catalytic converters in the exhaust system. The catalyst normally works at high temperatures and may crack if it is submerged in water. Replacement catalysts are expensive.
- The air intake on many modern cars is located low down at the front of the engine bay and it only takes a small quantity of water sucked into the engine to cause serious damage. All engines are affected but turbo-charged and diesel engines are most vulnerable.
- Be considerate when driving through water at speeds above a slow crawl can result in water being thrown onto pavements, soaking pedestrians or cyclists. You could face a fine of £2,500, with the extra punishment of between three and nine penalty points if the police believe you were driving without reasonable consideration to other road users
- If your car stalls, immediately abandon it and climb to higher ground. Watch your footing. Just six inches of fast-moving flood water can sweep a person off his or her feet.
- Test your brakes as soon as you can after driving through water.
- If the vehicle has been stood in the flooded area for any prolonged period contact your local dealer for further advice.
- If the vehicle has only been in a flood for a short period, drive with extreme caution and take the car to be checked at the earliest opportunity.
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