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'27% would drive into floodwater'

Wed, 27 Nov 2013

A DEVIL-MAY-CARE attitude amongst drivers is commonplace when it comes to flooded roads, according to a survey.

Nearly 2% would ignore a road-closed sign, while 42% would blindly follow the vehicle in front if it managed to cross a flooded road successfully, the poll shows.

Around a quarter of drivers (27%) would attempt to go through moving floodwater nearly 12in (30cm) deep, according to the Populus survey conducted for the Environment Agency and the AA.

Both the agency and the motoring group strongly advise not entering floodwater that is moving or is more than 4in (10cm) deep.

Those living in the North East are most cavalier about driving through deeply flooded roads, with men and those aged 55-64 most likely to attempt to negotiate high water-level routes, the survey suggests.

The poll results are based on responses from 21,165 AA members.

Phil Rothwell, head of flood strategy and engagement at the Environment Agency, said: "Tragically, people die because they've taken risks and attempted to drive through floodwater just to save a few minutes. Floodwater is dangerous, dirty and it can carry disease.

"If there is widespread flooding in your area then don't travel and if a road is closed then turn around and make a detour. Your journey could take you a little longer but making the right decision could ultimately save your life.

Darron Burness, head of the AA's flood rescue team, said: "The 9,000 vehicles driven into floodwater that the AA attended last year tell only half the story. There are thousands of other drivers who, perhaps unwittingly, came so close to coming a cropper."

By Peter Woodman, Press Association