The Environment Agency has joined forces with the AA to urge motorists not to be tempted to drive through floodwater this winter, no matter how shallow they might think it is.

Motorists willing to take a gamble

According to new research from the two organisations, a staggering 74 per cent of drivers polled said they would risk taking their vehicle via a route that was partially submerged.

This is despite the fact this is the leading cause of death during a flood. A further 12 per cent said they would wait and see if other motorists were braving the water before following them.

Perhaps surprisingly, younger motorists were a little more sensible when it came to driving through floodwater, with 27 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds saying they would turn back compared to 24 per cent of over-45s.

Both the AA and the Environment Agency are now calling for drivers to do more to keep themselves and their passengers safe, pointing out that it only takes 30 cm of standing water to float a car and an egg cup-sized amount to do irreversible damage to its engine.

Environment Agency spokesperson Caroline Douglass said: “Our message is clear – surface water flooding it is often deeper than it looks. Never drive through floodwater. Turn around and find another route.”

Last year, the organisation warned intense bouts of winter flooding are likely to become more frequent in the UK as a result of climate change.

Indeed, the winter of 2015-16 saw some of the most extreme and severe floods in 100 years.

Heather Stark, brand manager at The Fuelcard People, comments: “It really is shocking that so many motorists would be prepared to take a gamble like this. We’d second the advice to steer well clear of any floodwater you might come across this winter, no matter how shallow it appears.”

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