Specially trained AA flood rescue technicians working across affected area
While the rain has eased off in many areas, it can take a while for flood levels to recede, so surface water and flooding will continue to cause problems.
Flood-related call-outs are quite thinly scattered today but concentrated around North-east England and Essex. Although North Wales has been badly hit by flooding, flood-related workload there is comparatively quiet as many people have heeded warnings.
As at 12:00 noon
Although the rain has eased, flooding and surface water continue to cause widespread problems on the roads.
Flood water can mask a range of hazards like raised drain covers and open manholes. It’s often impossible to gauge how deep it is or how fast it's moving and carries all manner of diseases too.
We’ve seen hundreds of drivers get stuck this week including drivers of four wheel drive vehicles who thought they were immune from the dangers. Remarkably, we've even seen 4x4 drivers moving road closed signs to gain access to flooded roads!
Our own Land Rover crews are thoroughly trained for operating safely in these conditions. Each vehicle is double-crewed by certified swiftwater rescue technicians, trained by the same people who train the RNLI and many fire service teams. Crews also undergo 4x4 driver training including off-road operations. Each crew member wears a dry suit, buoyancy aid and protective clothing.
As well as potentially endangering your life, if your car gets stuck, it’s usually written off.
As at 13:00
Flood-related call-outs are more scattered today with the biggest concentration around North-east England.
If you break down in flood water, please call your breakdown provider as normal. Only call 999 if there is a danger to life.
As at 13:00
Saturday night and Sunday morning was the AA’s busiest period so far for flood-related call-outs - more so than Wednesday at its peak
As at 14:00
As at 12:00 noon:
flash flooding was a real issue yesterday with many people getting stuck
Darron Burness, the AA’s Head of Special Operation
Darron Burness, the AA’s Head of Special Operations, says: “With the ground so saturated, flash flooding was a real issue yesterday with many people getting stuck. We alone attended 804 cars stuck in flood water, making it our busiest day ever for flooding call-outs but, unfortunately, today could be just as bad with more heavy rain forecast, particularly in western areas.
Drivers really need to be careful and be prepared for sudden road closures.
We also see some drivers plough into flood water, somewhat oblivious to the risks.
Unfortunately, the air intake on modern cars is often quite low and it takes just a tiny amount of water entering it to wreck the engine. Stay out of flood water where possible, certainly if it’s moving or more than four inches deep.
Yesterday our patrols reported seeing many people driving far too fast in the conditions. Stopping distances can increase significantly in the wet, so keep your speed down and maintain a larger gap between you and the vehicle in front.
Bear in mind that surface water can mask dips in the road and potholes, which can catch you out.
Surface spray is an issue too, so you must use your headlights if visibility is seriously reduced.
local road maintenance is often the poor relation when it comes to local spending and more should be invested in tracking, clearing and improving drainage
Paul Watters, AA Head of Roads Policy
AA Head of Roads Policy Paul Watters says: “Highway drainage problems – just like faded road markings and potholes, which are also in the news today – are a menace for drivers.
“Autumn leaves and exceptional rainfall unsurprisingly lead to flooding but local road maintenance is often the poor relation when it comes to local spending and more should be invested in tracking, clearing and improving drainage systems. We also urge landowners to co-operate with highway authorities when flooding problems occur.”
AA SORT in Chew Magna, Somerset (Wednesday)
Heavy rain and localised flooding on Wednesday caused major problems on the roads in a swathe from Gloucester to Plymouth. The AA's ‘Special Operations’ flood rescue crews were despatched to the area.
By 14:30 the AA had attended around 7,100 breakdowns nationally – 37 per cent busier than normal – including 423 flood water-related call-outs.
With breakdowns coming in at around 1,000 every hour the AA expected to attend around 13,000 for the day, compared to around 9,500 on an average Wednesday.
Flood-related work was concentrated around the M5 corridor, spreading into Worcestershire and south Birmingham by late afternoon with many roads reportedly impassable
Unfortunately, the forecast for Thursday is even worse with heavy rain forecast across a wider area – particularly South-west, south Wales and Scotland
Darron Burness, AA head of special operations
Darron Burness, the AA’s Head of Special Operations, says: “It’s been very bad today in the Midlands and South-west with the weather causing extremely challenging driving conditions. Unfortunately, the forecast for Thursday is even worse with heavy rain forecast across a wider area – particularly South-west, south Wales and Scotland – so drivers need to plan accordingly and keep tuned to local traffic and weather reports.
“It’s important to keep your speed down and maintain a bigger gap between you and the vehicle in front. If you hit water and the steering becomes unresponsive, don’t hit the brakes – just ease off the accelerator and slow down gradually till the tyres regain their grip.
“Also, stay out of flood water as it’s very difficult to gauge how deep it is and it often contains unseen hazards like dislodged manhole covers. If conditions are bad, heed any police advice about whether it’s safe to travel and accept that you may need to make alternative arrangements.”
Flood related breakdowns - midday Wednesday
Those in areas at risk of flooding should check the Environment Agency website for the latest information and sign up for free flood warnings on the Environment Agency’s website or by calling the Environment Agency Flood Line on 0845 988 1188.
(27 November 2012)