With much of Britain suffering one of the wettest autumns on record, driving has at times been hazardous.
In November, three people were rescued from the roof of a car in Devon after fast-flowing water reached the windows of their vehicle, while a woman in Doncaster had to be rescued from a submerged car.
Despite nearly a third of flood-related deaths being in vehicles, new research shows that for most of us leaving the car at home is simply not an option.
According to research done by the AA and the Environment Agency, 74 per cent of drivers are oblivious to the hazards associated with driving through flood water. Just 30cm of moving water is enough to float a car, but only one in four drivers would find an alternative route to avoid a flooded road.
“It is concerning so many drivers are willing to risk their own life and the lives of others by driving through flood water," Caroline Douglass, director of incident management and resilience at the Environment Agency said.
"Our message is clear: surface water flooding it is often deeper than it looks and just 30cm of flowing water is enough to float your car. Never drive through flood water. Turn around and find another route.”
With more heavy rain forecast for the Christmas period, the AA's Ben Sheridan has issued further advice.
“Don’t chance it if the road ahead is flooded – water can be deceptively deep and can hide other hazards in the road which may leave you stranded," he said.
“Trying to drive through flood water puts you and your passengers at risk, but it can also cause damage to your car. It only takes an egg-cupful of water to wreck your engine and on many cars, the engine’s air intake is low down at the front.”
If driving through a flood is unavoidable, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has the following advice:
The DVSA adds that motorists should NEVER attempt to drive through fast-moving water such as a flooded bridge or a ford since conditions change rapidly creating a danger of being swept away. In addition, what lies beneath the flood water is totally unknown.
If your engine cuts out after driving through flood water, don’t attempt to restart it. Instead, call your breakdown provider and wait for help.
The survey found that Leicester is the top place for flood-related breakdowns in the UK, with Watery Gate Lane being responsible for 88 call-outs between 2014 and 2018.
The full AA research can be found here.