Why you should never drive through a flood

05 September 2014

Find out why it's more damaging than you think.

There are so many reasons why you should NOT drive a motor vehicle through a flood but there's one that never gets a mention (those of you who have experience of motor boats should already know about this). Read on to find out what it is.

Do an internet search for reasons not to drive through a flood and motoring organisations of all different sorts will provide you with chapter and verse. I’m not knocking these, far from it. Have a look at this as an example. It’s good to know that changing gear with your exhaust tailpipe submerged may well suck water into your engine or that the same effect might happen if you have a low air intake. Water is NOT compressible and much expensive damage will be done turning over a water-logged power unit.

I also really like the warnings of cars floating away. This is made possible by the fact that modern cars are built airtight around the doors (the first car to claim this was the original VW Beetle).

The media absolutely love showing us images of cars travelling through floods at speed with water rising higher than the vehicle forming a spectacular display. It truly is a spectacle.

Car Flood

But let’s get back to the boats. On inland waterways, bank erosion is always an issue so speed restrictions are set in nautical units of knots. When you ask yourself why, the answer is obvious. The faster you go, the larger the bow wave and the bigger the wash along the banks. It's the wash that erodes the banks, so smaller (slower) is better.

Back to floods. If you're unfortunate to have a property that you're protecting from flooding using sand bags or the more efficient alternative sand bags at your front door and along comes a speedster making spectacular waves down your road, how happy will you be when the wash from the passing vehicle overtops your flood protection measures? NOT VERY.

So here's a plea to the media to stop showing these spectacular images of irresponsible driving.

In towns and cities if you must drive through a flood proceed at a reasonable pace and ‘Watch your wash!’

Free Ebook for communities: How to prepare for flooding and other emergencies.


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