Wednesday 23rd November 2016
Would you risk it? Pensioners are most likely to take the plunge and attempt to drive through flood waters.

Heavy rain a consistent yet unwelcome familiarity in Britain, and its ability to block our road is something of a nuisance. However, despite the risks associated with driving through floods waters, it seems some drivers are less cautious than others.

Rob Hull, The Daily Mail, reports:

Older motorists are more willing to put themselves and their car at risk by driving through floods than people more than half their age with very little experience behind the wheel.

That's according to new statistics released by the Environment Agency and the AA, which said that almost half of over 65s would attempt to take their car through a water-engulfed route.

The information, revealed on Friday, was a reminder to drivers of the dangers of driving through drenched routes, pointing out that a car can float in as little as 30cm of water.

A survey of 19,018 AA members revealed that 49 per cent of over-65s would choose to drive through flood water instead of turning their car around to find an alternative route.

That compared to just 40 per cent of motorists between the age of 18 and 24 who would opt to do the same, despite having far less experience at the wheel than their older counterparts, in most cases.

Overall, 48 per cent of all drivers in the UK would risk putting themselves in danger by driving through standing water. 

The warning has come following last year's extreme weather conditions, which saw parts of the UK overwhelmed by flooding with news reports dominated by homes, shops and vehicles damaged by effects of heavy rainfall.

In fact, the AA reported that in the last five years alone it has been called out to nearly 23,000 flood-related rescues, many of which could have been avoided.

The results of the poll also found there were significant differences in the attitudes of men and women.  

Faced with a road completely covered in standing flood water only 26 per cent of male respondents said they would turn around and find a different way of reaching their destination.

Females were more calculating, with 38 per cent saying they'd try to make alterations to their route instead of risk driving through deep water.

Women were also more likely to cancel their journey altogether than men by 30 per cent to 25 per cent respectively. 

The AA survey also found that drivers in the North East and South East (excluding London) were the most likely to try to navigate though flood waters (51 per cent). 

Drivers in London - who arguably are not faced with flooded roads as much as other parts of the country - were the least likely to risk driving through flood water. 

John Curtin, executive director of flood and coastal risk management at the Environment Agency, said: 'The sheer number of people of all ages who wouldn't think twice about a potentially fatal decision to drive through a flood is deeply worrying. Our message is simple: don't.

'It's so easy to check if your route is affected by flooding, our warnings and alerts are updated every 15 minutes. If you see flood water on the road ahead, you should avoid unnecessary misery and turn around and go another way.'

Motorists can do this by visiting the Environment Agency's flood warning service - it's free and updates every 15 minutes.

The AA also listed the top 25 locations where it has attended flooded cars in the last three years.

The top three places - Rufford Lane in Newark, the unfortunately named Watery Gate Lane in Leicester and Houndsfield Lane in Shirley, Solihull - have in fact been at the top of the 'help, I'm stranded in water' calls for the last seven years. Unsurprisingly, they're all fords.  

Olly Kunc, AA director of road operations, added: 'While it's easy to assume it will never happen to you, even the most experienced driver could be out of their depth in flood water. 

'Last year, more than 2,500 AA members became stranded while attempting to pass through a waterlogged road.

'Even a small amount of water ingested through the air intake will wreck the engine, while 30cm of fast-flowing water could float your car. 

'Flood water is dangerous and masks other hazards, so it's just not worth the risk to you, your passengers and those who have to rescue you for the sake of a few miles' detour.'  

With the risk of skidding, stalling and the damage to the car, driving through flood waters is certainly not to be advised. With winter weather approaching, perhaps safety warnings around driving in heavy rain should be more prominent? At least those of you who have read this article will now be better prepared.

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