Drivers are being warned that they need to take particular care if they are caught out by freak fl...
Freak hailstorm hits car insurance and breakdown services
Hailstones as big as golf balls wrecked cars in Leicestershire – and by lunchtime yesterday the AA had already attended 100 cars stuck in flood water in the Midlands.
Drivers are being warned that they need to take particular care if they are caught out by freak floods or weather conditions such as the hailstorm which hit the Midlands yesterday.
Breakdown service the AA said its patrols rescued 100 drivers by 2:00pm on Thursday and used its special water rescue Land Rovers to drag marooned vehicles to safety.
And AA Insurance said that it received 29 claims for damage to cars from the hailstones in just half an hour yesterday lunchtime.
With torrential downpours forecast for other parts of the country, the AA is warning drivers to think about how they drive on flooded roads - head of special operations Darron Burness says: "It's often impossible to gauge the depth of flood water, so don't even chance it."
"Not only do you risk wrecking your engine but there are often hidden dangers like dislodged manhole covers and other debris. Also, it takes only one foot of water to float a car."
Damage from hailstones the size of those reported in Leicestershire can be severe: several of the AA Insurance claimants said their cars were extensively damaged - and serious bodywork damage can mean a car has to be written off.
Drivers with comprehensive insurance will be covered for severe weather damage, although those with third party fire and theft cover will have to meet their own bills.
However, just having cover doesn't mean you shouldn't take care when driving on flooded roads. Don't drive through standing water if you can avoid it, as even a tiny amount of water into the engine could wreck your car.
If you have to drive through water, only do so if you know it's not too deep, drive slowly and steadily, allowing oncoming traffic to pass first and as soon as you are out of the water, test your brakes. If you do aquaplane, hold the steering wheel lightly and take your foot off the accelerator until your tyres grip again.
You should never drive through fast-moving water as you could easily be swept away. If you do get stuck in flooded water, stay put and leave the doors shut and call for help on your phone. If you've stalled, don't try to start the engine- and don't open the car doors unless you are worried about your safety.
- Don't splash pedestrians or cyclists: you could get fined and receive penalty points if the police believe you were driving without reasonable consideration for others
- Check the Environment Agency's website for flood warnings before you set off
- Have your car checked out if you've driven through water: there could be damage which if unchecked could corrode your engine over time
The largest hailstone recorded fell in South Dakota in 2010 - it was 20.5 centimetres in diameter and weighed a kilo