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Author Topic: Survey reveals 20 million motorists would risk driving through floodwater  (Read 3939 times)
Chris from Nailsea
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« on: November 16, 2014, 07:25:05 pm »

From the Bristol Post:

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Survey reveals 20 million motorists would risk driving through floodwater


1.36 million male drivers would risk driving through flood water that^s up to knee height ^ just 30cm can move a car.

More than two thirds of UK drivers ^ 20 million in total ^ would still risk an accident by driving through flood water, a new survey has revealed.

Following the wettest winter on record, the Environment Agency and the AA commissioned the new research.

It found the top accident blackspot in the UK is in Newark, Nottinghamshire where a staggering 96 motorists have had to be rescued in the past five years after trying to drive through a flooded ford.

Other locations with large numbers of rescues include Water Gate Lane in Leicester and the ford in Bucklebury, Berkshire.

Two years ago a 77-year-old man died at Chew Stoke, Somerset after he tried to drive through a rain-swollen stream in his 4x4. The vehicle was swept downstream and became wedged under a footbridge trapping the driver.

All of the AA^s top 20 flood rescue spots are in England, with 12 located at fords. There have been 21,687 AA flood rescues since 2009. Serious accidents occur each year by drivers taking unnecessary risks and going ahead with a journey despite Environment Agency flood warnings.

The largest number of rescues from flood water on a single day was Christmas Eve 2013 ^ with 642 rescues. The Environment Agency issued more than 450 flood warnings and alerts on the same day.

Drivers are being encouraged to check flood risk information for their entire journey before setting out.

The survey of more than 19,000 AA members, carried out by Populus, also found that:

Twice as many men (equating to 1.36 million drivers) than women (680,000 drivers) would risk driving through flood water that^s up to knee height ^ just 30cm can move a car.

Two in five (44%) members would choose another route in the event of flood warnings. Those in the East Midlands would be most likely to do this (48%), and those in London the least likely to (39%).

Only just over a third of members would turn around and go another way if the road ahead was flooded. Men are more likely to take risks than women ^ 66% of male drivers compared with 54% of female drivers would risk driving through flood water.

^Too many drivers end up putting themselves in danger ^ and potentially those who come to their rescue ^ by taking unnecessary risks during flooding. It can be hard to tell what hazards lie beneath flood water, but more often than not there^s a lot of misery and a much longer delay than a well planned detour,^ said John Curtin, director of incident management and resilience at the Environment Agency.

^We need drivers to check the flood risk for their entire route before they travel. Our flood warning information on GOV.UK is updated every 15 minutes and can help anyone plan a safe journey,^ added Mr Curtin.

Darron Burness, head of the AA^s flood rescue team, said, ^During last winter, which was the wettest on record, we attended around 4,400 flood-related call-outs but many were completely avoidable. Some drivers don^t fully appreciate the dangers posed by flood water. Fords catch a lot of people out. Just because it^s a designated crossing point, don^t assume that it^s always safe to cross ^ the depth of the water and its flow rate can quickly change with the weather.^

He warns, ^Just one foot or 30 centimetres of moving water can float your car, so if you^re at all unsure of the conditions, turn round rather than risk your vehicle being swept down river.^

My highlighting - a very sad local story. CfN.  Sad
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William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
bobm
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« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2014, 07:29:56 pm »

For a litany of people driving through floodwater when they really shouldn't you should read about the Land's End ford between Twyford and Woodley near Reading.

This was from 2012 - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-berkshire-18276551 - but it has continued since, with the most recent incident only last week when a woman and her children had to be rescued.
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ChrisB
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« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2014, 07:32:04 pm »

People think that their car will protect them in all conditions, particularly 4x4 drivers

If the water is deep enough that you wouldn't get out of your car into it, don't try & drive through it. Period.
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2014, 08:00:00 pm »

I drive a Mercedes Sprinter van. Quite robust, high axle height - but frankly rubbish traction, rear wheel drive only.  Roll Eyes

Two relevant incidents of note:

1. Flooding on a B road - seeing an oncoming lorry get through the water, I decided I could then do so - but I noted car drivers from both directions were doing U turns to avoid the water hazard - quite rightly;

2. Ford in spate, in the Chew Valley (Somerset) - approaching down a narrow lane with caution, I assessed the situation and decided not to attempt it, but to reverse (somewhat laboriously!) and find an alternative route.
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William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
richwarwicker
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« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2014, 08:07:52 pm »

I drove through a puddle on Friday and my car electrics went like it had been possessed all evening on Friday until I decided to disconnect the battery.
My 4 electric windows were opening and closing, the locks locking and unlocking themselves. and the hazards flashing like mad!
Its now dried off and ok fortunately.
I definitely wouldn't risk a flood if a puddle made my electrics go mad!

Slightly on topic as related to my wet electrics:
CfN - Is Holders of Congresbury still trading? If so do you know if they are helpful? My car radio is asking for code since I disconnected the battery, and as they supplied my car new I've been told they may hold the code. (They also serviced it until the car moved to Cornwall in 2012 looking at the service book)
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2014, 08:22:20 pm »

Holders of Congresbury are indeed still very much in business, and from what I've heard (not used them personally), very helpful.  Wink
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William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
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« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2014, 09:03:07 pm »

I got caught in scarily deep flood water once. October 30th 2000, a Monday morning going to work on a busy rural road, and on a normal day you were often nose-to-tail. So as it got light and you could see the runoff from the fields cascading onto the road, to start off it was just a bit slower than usual. The water got deeper as we left Arborfield Cross on the A327 towards Reading, and now it was a question of following the car in front or trying to turn round - which was much the more difficult option. I never made a single decision to risk it - it literally crept up on us, and once you are in it, and it is getting deeper, there is no guarantee going back will be any better.

All the time I was expecting a car ahead to stop and we would all be in trouble. However, we got all the way - over the Loddon at Parrot Bridge (not that you could see the river as such), about a mile or maybe more. I though at the time the road must have very level, but it isn't - in which case it was runoff using the road to reach the river. That could still get deeper anywhere the road gradient changes, so I still reckon that was very lucky indeed - for a lot of people.

For the next couple of days (my memory says it was over a week, but my memory is wrong) the only way from Wokingham to Reading was on the M4. That was unprecedented then, but it's happened several times since.

I'm still not sure if I think I was stupid, we were all individually stupid, or just collectively stupid (which is not the same thing). Or maybe it was always likely to happen just due to the timing, and no one person could do much about it.
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« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2014, 10:26:01 pm »

I had an experience after driving a diesel car through a swollen ford, a little faster than should have been the case. It was similar in some aspects to the bit in the film Apollo 13, where the instrument panel lights up, and Tom Hanks announces "Houston, we have a problem!" It wouldn't start the following morning. I had assumed that a diesel would not suffer the problems of wet points and coil, but overlooked the ^800 effect of a wet alternator. Thankfully, I was not paying, but ever since, I have approached water on the road with caution.

I take the crown of the road, and, mindful of the possibility of hidden holes, I drive so slowly as to not raise a wave. If the water rises too far up the front wheels for my liking, I reverse out, dismount, find a stick, and test the depth. This time, I would be paying.

I watched a fool follow a 4x4 across the ford at Tarr Steps once, in an ordinary car. Thankfully for the local ecology, he emerged on the opposite side having lost only the bottom of his front bumper and the panel below the engine. The car stopped dead within 100 metres. I parked and walked across the bridge. The tow truck arrived as I was leaving the pub, having finished a very acceptable lunch.
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Now, please!
bignosemac
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« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2014, 11:12:36 pm »

There's a ford near me at Henbury, where the mighty Hazel Brook crosses the B4055, that often attracts the idiot motorist when it is in spate. Thing is with this one though is that there is a perfectly serviceable bridge right next to it for light vehicles, yet some motorists don't even want to go 10yds out of their way.

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stuving
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« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2014, 11:32:31 pm »

It's not just here, either. On Friday night two cars were swept away in France on Ponts submersibles - what Americans call low water bridges. Four people were drowned as a result. This was in the Massif Central, where they are quite common on small roads, and the drivers were locals - in one case only a few hundred metres from home.
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richwarwicker
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« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2014, 11:33:03 pm »

 A friends car was written off by an oncoming car doing what that fiesta is doing. She'd slowed to almost walking pace through the flood, but an oncoming land rover didn't slow, and put a tidal wave up over her car and into the electrics and such,
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2018, 09:55:44 pm »

I drive a Mercedes Sprinter van. Quite robust, high axle height - but frankly rubbish traction, rear wheel drive only.  Roll Eyes
Two relevant incidents of note:
1. Flooding on a B road - seeing an oncoming lorry get through the water, I decided I could then do so - but I noted car drivers from both directions were doing U turns to avoid the water hazard - quite rightly;
2. Ford in spate, in the Chew Valley (Somerset) - approaching down a narrow lane with caution, I assessed the situation and decided not to attempt it, but to reverse (somewhat laboriously!) and find an alternative route.

Two more incidents of note this evening:

1. Flooding on Mill Lane, near Wrington (a narrow lane, with warning signs for 'weak bridge') - I know that road, but driving cautiously onward, in the dark, almost before I knew it, I had lost visibility due to the flood water covering my headlamps.  Keeping my head (and forward movement) I managed to exit the hazard - while thinking, that's the last time I'll try that one!  Roll Eyes

2. Flooding on another lane, just before joining the A38 (a similar narrow lane, with 'flood' warning triangle signs at the approach) - I have done that one before, but in broad daylight.  This time, in the dark, and with much more water, it was rather more exciting - that's the last time I'll try that one, too!  Shocked

Fair play to my Mercedes Sprinter 'what a piece of junk!', though - it got me through and out the other side, twice.  Grin

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William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
richwarwicker
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« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2018, 10:03:17 pm »

I drive a Mercedes Sprinter van. Quite robust, high axle height - but frankly rubbish traction, rear wheel drive only.  Roll Eyes
Two relevant incidents of note:
1. Flooding on a B road - seeing an oncoming lorry get through the water, I decided I could then do so - but I noted car drivers from both directions were doing U turns to avoid the water hazard - quite rightly;
2. Ford in spate, in the Chew Valley (Somerset) - approaching down a narrow lane with caution, I assessed the situation and decided not to attempt it, but to reverse (somewhat laboriously!) and find an alternative route.

Two more incidents of note this evening:

1. Flooding on Mill Lane, near Wrington (a narrow lane, with warning signs for 'weak bridge') - I know that road, but driving cautiously onward, in the dark, almost before I knew it, I had lost visibility due to the flood water covering my headlamps.  Keeping my head (and forward movement) I managed to exit the hazard - while thinking, that's the last time I'll try that one!  Roll Eyes

2. Flooding on another lane, just before joining the A38 (a similar narrow lane, with 'flood' warning triangle signs at the approach) - I have done that one before, but in broad daylight.  This time, in the dark, and with much more water, it was rather more exciting - that's the last time I'll try that one, too!  Shocked

Fair play to my Mercedes Sprinter 'what a piece of junk!', though - it got me through and out the other side, twice.  Grin



Itís a disciplinary if weíre found out to have entered flood water for us.

Saying they have rubbish traction is an understatement, but Iíve found a way to improve it, traction control off, use the tiptronic gear box instead of full auto. I also try and keep my late deliveries or a heavy stack of empties over the rear axle for some downforce!
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2018, 10:30:54 pm »

Itís a disciplinary if weíre found out to have entered flood water for us.

Saying they have rubbish traction is an understatement, but Iíve found a way to improve it, traction control off, use the tiptronic gear box instead of full auto. I also try and keep my late deliveries or a heavy stack of empties over the rear axle for some downforce!

With my employer, it's entirely down to the individual driver's discretion (as far as I know).  In times of severely inclement weather, the only way into parts of Wrington is through some level of floodwater - from whatever direction you approach the village.  Lips sealed

And I wish we had the options you describe: our Mercedes Sprinters are basic 310 manual, no gimmicks like traction control.  Shocked

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William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
richwarwicker
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« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2018, 10:50:17 pm »

Itís a disciplinary if weíre found out to have entered flood water for us.

Saying they have rubbish traction is an understatement, but Iíve found a way to improve it, traction control off, use the tiptronic gear box instead of full auto. I also try and keep my late deliveries or a heavy stack of empties over the rear axle for some downforce!

With my employer, it's entirely down to the individual driver's discretion (as far as I know).  In times of severely inclement weather, the only way into parts of Wrington is through some level of floodwater - from whatever direction you approach the village.  Lips sealed

And I wish we had the options you describe: our Mercedes Sprinters are basic 310 manual, no gimmicks like traction control.  Shocked



Ours are Sprinter 313 Auto with (useless) traction control, so a little more power/bigger wheel spins. The acceleration 0-55 is impressive and then bang into the limiter.
Our biggest type of customer is farms, (in winter, summer is holiday lets) so we tend to get stuck often, although Iíve yet to get stuck myself!
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