The recent spate of record-breaking downpours and aggressive Atlantic storms have seen many towns and villages flood to previously unheard-of levels.

Unfortunately, the freak weather systems are showing no signs of dissipating and the next few days could see as much as a month’s worth of rainfall fall on already heavily-flooded areas.

In cases of severe flooding, you should reconsider making the journey at all.

The situation has forced families to evacuate houses as well as traverse perilous roads in order to escape waterlogged areas and reach safer ground.

Many of us have little, if any experience tackling submerged roads so Peter Rodger, the Institute of Advanced Motorists’ (IAM) chief examiner, has divulged some of his top tips for tackling deluged routes.

“In cases of severe flooding, you should reconsider making the journey at all,” explained Rodger. But if it is absolutely necessary, the IAM suggests drivers take the following precautions:

  • Drive on the highest section of the road and don't set off if a vehicle is approaching you.
  • Leave time and space to avoid swamping other cars and pedestrians.
  • Drive slowly and keep going once you have started – make sure you have a clear run. In a manual car, keep the revs high by "slipping the clutch" (which means the clutch is not fully engaged) all the time you are in the water .
  • If you can’t see where you are going to come out of the water, such as when approaching flooding on a bend, think twice about starting to drive into it.
  • In deep water never take your foot off the accelerator, as this could allow water to travel up the exhaust pipe.
  • Once you're out of the water, dry the brakes before you need them. The best way is to lightly apply the brake as you drive along for a few seconds, after checking nothing is following you too closely.


Leon Poultney


February 12, 2014