During the summer months, parts of Australia are often affected by heavy rain or flooding. Motorists should brush up on their wet weather driving skills to keep safe in the conditions.
Considerations before driving during heavy rain or flooding
Rather than risk driving during flooding, the best tip is to avoid travelling at all. If you’ve prepared an emergency kit for storm season, your best option is to sit the flood out at home. Of course, natural disasters aren’t predictable, so you may be forced to travel.
If you know there’s flooding in an area, take an alternative route where flooding is less likely. If you are unfamiliar with the area, ask a local for advice or use a map. It’s better to take a longer, safer journey than risk driving through flood water.
How to drive during heavy rain or flooding
Overwhelmingly the safer option when it comes driving during heavy rain or flooding is to avoid doing so. Driving during flooding is incredibly dangerous and should only be attempted in absolute emergencies, like seeking medical assistance. If you are forced to drive through flood water, here’s some guidance.
Check if there's flooding in your area
You should try and get an idea of how extensive the flooding is in your area before you begin your journey. Most cars aren’t built to drive in water – a depth of more than 10cm can begin to cause trouble. Local emergency services in your state or news services may give you an indication of how affected your route is.
If you come across floodwater and know the area, you should be able to estimate how high the flood water is compared to the usual landscape. Flood water is typically murky, so it’s unlikely you’ll be able to gauge depth by looking in the water.
If other drivers are considering crossing, that doesn’t mean it’s safe to follow. The best option is to wait for the waters to subside or take an alternative route.
Dangers of crossing flood water
- Flood waters can conceal damaged roads and underwater obstacles and debris. The current in floods are often strong enough to move a car, causing it to lose traction or be pushed off course.
- While crossing, the splash from another vehicle could force water into your car, affecting your engine or other components.
- Water causes your tyres to lose grip decreasing your control and increasing the severity of any collision with submerged debris.
- Wet brakes are less effective, and may require additional braking time until they dry completely.
Is it illegal to drive through flood water?
There is no law which specifically outlaws driving through flood water. However, this doesn’t mean drivers aren’t opening themselves up to legal consequences. If property is damaged or people injured while crossing flood water, the driver may be liable.
Injured in a car accident during flooding? We’re here to help
If you or a loved one has been in an accident during flood conditions, you may be able to make a claim against the driver responsible.
Shine Lawyers’ team of motor vehicle claim experts can help you through the legal process to help get your life back on track. Get in touch today for an obligation-free consultation, where we will examine all your legal options. Our motor vehicle claims are run with a No Win, No Fee Guarantee*, so you won't pay legal fees if your claim isn't succesful.
Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: February 22, 2021.