Driving safely in heavy rain and floods

Driving through puddles and surface water brings added risks on the road and can lead to hefty repair bills.

If you must drive in very wet conditions, the RAC advises:

- Slow down and leave more space between you and the vehicle in front

- Use dipped headlights so that other drivers can see you more easily

- Don’t use rear fog lights, as they can mask your brake lights and dazzle drivers behind you

- Look out for large or fast-moving vehicles creating spray which reduces visibility

- Keep your air conditioning on, as this will stop your windows from misting up

Hitting deep puddles when you’re going too fast isn’t just a skid risk, it can cause problems with your car’s engines and electrics, Select Car Leasing warns.

A wet windscreen with a car braking in-front

Company director Mark Tongue explained that if the water is forced into the car’s air intakes it can lock the piston in place.

“With a lot of modern cars, the engine’s air intake is situated low down at the front of the vehicle,” he said.

“And if you hit a significant amount of water with sufficient speed, you can force air into this intake and potentially destroy your engine.

“It only takes a tiny amount of water — an eggcup full — to cause what’s known as ‘hydrostatic lock’ — where water gets into a cylinder and causes it to lock in place.

“You could then end up needing a new engine, with a replacement costing several thousand pounds.”

Performing rally-like manoeuvres through puddles can also force water into areas of your car when the electrical systems are located.

“A short circuit might cause you to lose all engine power, and it’s also a fire risk,” Tongue added.

“The other thing to consider is that vehicle airbags might suddenly go off, too, creating a terrifying risk for both yourself and other road users. Meanwhile, on older cars, water might get into the distributor cap — the component passes the voltage from the ignition coils to the engine’s cylinders.”

Lastly, driving too fast through standing water can lead to ‘aquaplaning’, where your tyres lose contact with the road.

If that happens, the RAC’s advice is to ease off the accelerator, do not brake and allow your speed to reduce until you gain full control of the steering again.

Get in touch with MasterQuote for a great deal on car insurance whatever the weather!

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