When there has been heavy and sustained rainfall, there can be areas on the road of deep water. Perhaps the drainage system could not cope with the volume of water, or perhaps due to the absence of drainage there is a collection or pool of deep flooded water. Seeing these hazards early as a driver is key, so that the vehicle can be slowed down as this situation does represent a potential hazard. If a vehicle continues to travel at speed (approximately 40 mph or more) then there is the possibility of aquaplaning where the water acts as a layer between the tyres of the wheels and the road surface – in effect, momentarily floating and unresponsive to braking of steering.
By slowing down as can be seen here in this video, there is less possibility of aquaplaning or water being sprayed up into the engine that can create problems with the normal running of the engine.
Another risk is where there are potholes that can’t be seen due to the pool of water or at times, manhole covers can be forced upwards by the water and in doing so, create a large area that is effectively a hole in the road; again unable to be seen. Great care should be taken to try to avoid damaging the wheels or suspension of the vehicle by driving into these types of hazards.
There does also come a point when the depth of the water becomes such that a vehicle cannot drive through the water without ‘flooding’ the engine or having water enter the exhaust pipe or even the bottom of the doors. It is not always immediately apparent how deep the water is, especially if no other vehicles are travelling through it to help assess the depth.
Do remember if you drive through deep water, to test the brakes as you come out the other end.