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Floods and standing water

The Do's and Don'ts of driving through flooded plans

Only drive through water if you know that it's not too deep for your car!

Drive slowly and steadily to avoid creating a bow wave. Allow oncoming traffic to pass first and test your brakes as soon as you can after leaving the water.

Don't try driving through fast-moving water, such as at a flooded bridge approach – your car could easily be swept away.

Driving fast through standing water is dangerous – tyres lose contact with the road and you lose steering control in what's known as 'aquaplaning'. Watch out for standing water, trying to avoid it if you can, and adjust your speed to the conditions. If you do experience aquaplaning, hold the steering wheel lightly and lift off the throttle until the tyres regain grip.

Driving fast through standing water is inconsiderate – driving through water at speeds above a slow crawl can result in water being thrown onto pavements, soaking pedestrians or cyclists. You could face a hefty fine and between three and nine penalty points if the police believe you were driving without reasonable consideration to other road users.

Driving fast through standing water can cause expensive damage – the air intake on many cars is low down at the front of the engine bay and it only takes a small quantity of water sucked into the engine to cause serious damage. All engines are affected but turbo-charged and diesel engines are most vulnerable.

As you drive slowly through standing water keep the engine rev's high by using a lower gear, otherwise water in the exhaust could damage the catalytic convertor. If you break down in heavy rain don't prop the bonnet open while you wait for the Patrol to arrive – the engine will be more difficult to start again if the electrics are all rain-soaked.

AA Ireland Limited trading as AA Insurance is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.