Wet weather and flood advice for the car and the home
6 July 2012
With forecasts today for a month’s worth of rain in 24 hours across many parts of the UK, the AA is reminding motorists to take extra care when driving in heavy rain and homeowners to take precautions against flooding, where possible.
In recent weeks, the AA has been called out to hundreds of motorists who have driven through or become stuck in flood water and has already deployed its water rescue Land Rovers, AA Special Operations Response Team today to Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cambridgeshire, Worcestershire and Mid Wales. 23 jobs have already been received today for cars driven through water.
“With more torrential downpours expected across the UK today, localised or flash flooding could catch people out. Even if you know the local area well, lots of water on the roads can change their appearance and mask hidden hazards,“ explains Darron Burness, the AA’s Head of Special Operations.
“It’s often impossible to gauge the depth of flood water, so don’t even chance it. Not only do you risk wrecking your engine but there may be dislodged manhole covers and other debris.
“It only takes six inches of fast flowing water to knock you off your feet and one foot of water to float a car.
Driving in heavy rain
- Keep speed down, be watchful for standing water and not risk driving through flood water
- Don’t try driving through fast-moving water – you could easily get swept away
- Driving fast through standing water is dangerous; tyres lose contact with the road and you lose steering control – known as “aquaplaning”
- If this happens, hold the steering wheel lightly and lift off the throttle until the tyres regain grip
- If you break down in heavy rain, don’t prop the bonnet open while you wait for help to arrive. The engine will be more difficult to start again if the electrics are rain-soaked.
Homes at risk of flooding
Flooding can cause considerable damage to properties affected and while a homeowner is unable to prevent it, the impact can be reduced by taking some important precautions.
- Plan ahead – know where everyone in the house, including pets, could stay to be safe until the danger passes
- Have a flood kit ready including food, bottled water, a first aid kit, any necessary medication, emergency telephone numbers, clothes, blankets, bin bags, a torch, batteries, a wind-up radio, protective clothing, rubber boots, cleaning materials and a disposable camera (to take photos of any damage for your insurance company)
- Make sure you know where to turn off water, gas and electricity supplies
- Put valuables and irreplaceable items on high-mounted shelves and store important documents upstairs in a dry, accessible place
If flooding occurs
- Put sandbags or flood boards in place. You should also try to prevent backflow by putting a sandbag in the toilet bowl and plugging sinks and baths
- Move as many of your possessions, especially electrical items, as possible upstairs to keep them away from flood water
- Roll up rugs and carpet and move them upstairs. You could also take curtains down or hitch them up to keep them away from flood water
- If it’s safe to do so, turn off your gas, water and electricity supplies when flood water is about to enter your home
After a flood
- Make sure your electricity supply is switched off and don’t attempt to use any electrical appliances that may be wet
- If your home has been damaged by the flood, contact your insurance company immediately