Crews from Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) are sharing an important reminder after performing 20 rescues from water in the past 48 hours.

With winter weather on the way, recent rainfall has served as a reminder that flooding continues to affect those living and working in the AF&RS area (Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire). Country lanes and low-lying ground are often worst affected, and what looks like a shallow puddle can hold untold dangers within.

Seán Heighton, Group Manager at AF&RS said: “The effects of floodwater can be very serious and entering what looks okay from the surface can have very expensive or even dangerous results.

“The effects of floodwater can be very serious. The water may look okay from the surface but can have very expensive or even dangerous results. Finding another route may be frustrating, but being on time isn’t worth taking serious risk. If you encounter floodwater on the road, do not attempt to drive through it, even if it looks shallow as the water hides a range of dangers and you can’t tell the depth.”

AF&RS acknowledge that many people don’t realise how detrimental water can be to a vehicle. Seán added: “Even seemingly shallow water can reach a vehicle's engine, suck water up and cause the car to stall and break down. This is particularly dangerous when on a country road or driving at night, where you may not be able to call for help or where it may take help a long time to reach you.

“Remember, even in relatively shallow water, a strong current can knock over a person or even pick up a car. Flood water is rarely still water.”

AF&RS advice for floodwater on the road:

  • If you see a flooded road ahead, turn around and find an alternative route.
  • Water on the road can be deeper than you think, so don’t try and continue through floodwater.
  • If you can’t go another way, get to higher ground and wait for waters to subside.
  • If your car becomes affected by water, consider if safe to get out and if you can, climb to higher ground.
  • If you drive through any puddle of a significant size, test your brakes as soon as it’s safe to do so.
  • In an emergency, always call 999.

You can also take further precautions by making sure you’re prepared for adverse weather whilst driving. AF&RS suggest creating an ‘emergency kit’ filled with things such as a torch, warm/waterproof clothing, bottled water and a first aid kit to name a few. Having these items can help to keep you safe whilst waiting for emergency services to arrive.

For further advice on staying safe this winter, visit the AF&RS website and look at the seasonal safety page.