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Driving through flood water 'risks lives'

A car driving past a flood sign Image copyright Getty Images

Two-thirds of drivers would risk driving through flood water, despite it being the leading cause of death during a flood, the Environment Agency says.

The agency's Caroline Douglass described the statistic, taken from a survey of 18,000 AA members, as "extremely concerning".

"No one should put their own life or those of their friends and family at risk during a flood," she said.

Since 2013, the AA has rescued more than 14,500 drivers from floods.

A total of 101 drivers have been rescued from Rufford Lane in Newark, Nottingham, in the past five years.

Driving through flood water can also cause serious damage to the vehicle, with three-quarters of flood-damaged cars ultimately being written off, the agency said.

It is running a campaign warning people to prepare for flooding in advance by signing up for warning messages.

'Turn around'

Ms Douglass, the Environment Agency's director of incident management and resilience, said just 30cm of water was enough to float a family car and even less could float smaller vehicles.

Where have drivers been rescued from floods?

Location Number of rescues
Rufford Lane, Newark, Nottingham 101
Slash Lane, Barrow upon Soar, Loughborough 77
Houndsfield Lane, Shirley, Solihull 47
Bridgnorth Road, Trescott, Wolverhampton 39
Riverside, Eynsford, Dartford, Kent 39
Bucklebury, West Berkshire 32
Mountsorrel, Loughborough 31
Hawkswood Lane, Fulmer, Gerrards Cross 31
Winterbourne, Wiltshire 30
Mill Lane, Brockenhurst, Hampshire 30

Source: AA, January 2013 - December 2017

Ms Douglass urged those travelling long distances during the winter to check for flood warnings along their route.

"If you find your way blocked by flood water, never take the risk - turn around and find another way," she said.

The survey also found that men were more likely to drive through flood water than women - with 72% of male respondents admitting that they would try it, compared with 60% of women.

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