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UK Drivers In Deep Water

UK Drivers In Deep Water

More than half of UK drivers would endanger themselves and their vehicles by driving through moving flood water, that’s according to a joint Environment Agency and AA survey released this week.

The report also found that those living in North East England would attempt to drive through deeper water than anywhere else in the UK.

Environment Agency and AA survey revealed that over half of UK drivers would risk crossing dangerous flood water and the research of 21,165 AA members, carried out by Populus, also revealed that more than a quarter (27%) of respondents would drive through moving flood water deeper than 30cm, which is enough to move a car.

The Environment Agency and the AA “strongly advise” not entering flood water that is moving or more than 10cm deep and have said a third of flood-related deaths involve a vehicle because drivers take unnecessary risks.

Phil Rothwell, head of flood strategy and engagement at the Environment Agency, said: “Tragically people die because they’ve taken risks and attempted to drive through flood water just to save a few minutes.

“Flood water is dangerous, dirty and it can carry disease. If there is widespread flooding in your area then don’t travel and if a road is closed then turn around and make a detour.”

“Your journey could take you a little longer but making the right decision could ultimately save your life. You can check the flood forecast on the Environment Agency website to help you plan.”

The survey also found that more than two-fifths (42%) of drivers would blindly follow the vehicle in front if it had crossed a flooded road successfully and the equivalent of 680,000 drivers would ignore a ‘road closed’ warning sign and drive down a flooded road rather than take a short detour.

People aged between 55 and 64 are most likely to risk driving through the deepest flowing flood water (up to 34cm) and men would attempt to drive through deeper water (up to 34cm) than women (up to 27cm).

Darron Burness, head of the AA’s flood rescue team, added: "The 9,000 vehicles driven into flood water that the AA attended last year tell only half the story. There are thousands of other drivers who, perhaps unwittingly, came so close to coming a cropper.

“Three-quarters of cars that get stuck are written-off as it only takes a tiny amount of ingested water to wreck the engine.

"You're also putting yourself at risk as flood water can mask all manner of hazards, for example open manholes, and just one foot or 30 centimetres of moving water can float your car.”

Image courtesy of Dean Molyneaux /


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