Heavy rain and floodwater are a common occurrence in North Yorkshire and despite best efforts some roads will naturally flood and become a hazard for road users.  Every year the fire service are called out to road users who have become stranded whilst trying to drive through floodwater that is simply too deep or too fast to safely get through.

Follow our advice to ensure you remain safe and your car isn’t written off.


  • Never drive through deep floodwater, if its deeper than 10cm or its fast flowing it is likely to stall your engine and could leave you stranded
  • Never drive past road closed signs – they are closed for a reason


  • Always check your brakes if you feel they may have got wet from water on the road
  • Always check for road closures and flooding updates before you start your journey
  • Always pay attention to the road, flash floods can change your driving environment very quickly
  • Always keep a torch and high visibility jacket in your car at all times

Shallow water

  1. Check if there is an alternative route you can take which doesn’t involve driving through any floodwater
  2. Check the water depth – anything deeper than 10cm is deep and isn’t advised to drive through
  3. Let oncoming vehicles pass first – they will create a bow wave that could flood your car
  4. Drive slowly through – use first gear, 3 to 4 mph is fast enough
  5. Try to drive through the shallowest part of the road – this is usually the middle as the road cambers near the kerb
  6. Test you brakes when you are out of the water and when it is safe to do so

Deep water or fast flowing water

If the water seems too deep for your vehicle or it is fast flowing, turn back and go around the flood by another road. It might take a little longer, but that’s better than finding yourself stranded.


  • Remember every car will have different depths of water they can safely travel through, 10cm is widely recognised as the average
  • Remember it only takes 30cm of floodwater to move your car and around 60cm for your car to float away.
  • Remember driving through any water has the potential to flood your engine and could write your vehicle off.
  • Remember sometimes its better to wait the floodwater out, its better to be late than not turning up at all