UK flood warnings: what you should do

As a series of storms hit Britain, drivers and communities are being advised on what to do if they’re at risk of flooding.

Tom Harrison
Content writer
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Posted 10 OCTOBER 2019

October has so far seen a number of flood warnings for the UK. Find out how homeowners, drivers and businesses can protect themselves in flood-risk areas.

Where to get the latest flood advice

The Environment Agency is prompting householders to sign up for flood warning alerts. You can register for phone, email and text message alerts if your home or business is at risk of flooding.

There’s also helpful government advice about what to do in a flood, depending on the level of warning you’re facing. From preparing a bag that includes medicines and insurance documents to turning off the gas, water and electricity and moving your family, pets and possessions to safety, you’ll know what to do in a flood.

If your property has already been damaged by flooding, you should take photos of any damage and be careful not to remove anything affected until you’ve made a claim on your home insurance – or you’ve been instructed to by your claims advisor.

Other sources of help and advice include the National Flood Forum, a charity set up to support people at risk of flooding. It has a checklist and an action plan to help you prepare for floods.

Drivers and other road users

North West Motorway police took to Twitter recently to remind drivers to take it nice and steady.

They tweeted: “Folks lots of surface water on the network this evening. Please drive to the conditions and take it nice and steady. It’s much better to get there 10 minutes late in this life than 10 years early in the next #YouAreLoved #SlowDown.”

They also posted a picture of a car wrapped around a lamppost, citing the causes of the crash as poor driving and wet weather. Luckily the driver survived.

Meanwhile, other police forces are telling drivers: “please do not risk your life or your vehicle traveling through flood

Other police forces have said: “Drive to the conditions, and don’t try to drive through flood water or road closed signs.”

Past advice from the Highways Agency (HA), released during its “When it rains, it kills” campaign, includes the reminder that it generally takes at least twice as long to stop on a wet road as it does on a dry surface, because tyres have less grip. In wet weather the HA says you should:

  • slow down if the rain and spray from vehicles is making it difficult to see and be seen
  • keep well back from the vehicle in front to ensure you have plenty of time to see and react to hazards
  • ease off the accelerator and slow down gradually if your steering becomes unresponsive, as it probably means that water is preventing the tyres from gripping the road.

Sign up for the Environment Agency’s flood warnings, or read the government’s advice on what to do if you get a flood alert.

Read the National Flood Forum’s checklist and action plan.