With the rainy season upon us, it’s the season for flash floods too. There has been news of owners abandoning their vehicles because it got flooded and ultimately stops working. Firstly, it’s never a good idea to drive on flooded roads even if you’re caught halfway through your journey. The best thing is to turn around (if it’s possible) if you spot a flood up ahead.
Turn around, don’t drown
When a road is flooded, the water hides dips, debris or even damage which could make driving through it dangerous. There could be nails or other sharp objects which could puncture your tyres or the road could’ve crumbled away and cause massive damage to your car and injure you as well.
It doesn’t even need to flood because driving during wet weather is already dangerous in itself. Hydroplaning is when water causes your car’s tyres to lose contact with the road’s surface. Even for a few seconds, it could cause your car to spin out of control.
Not above the kerb
All it takes is about 15cm and the water would hit the bottom of most passenger cars. The water would then flood the exhaust and render your car immobile. Think of it this way, if you’re not able to walk through the water (especially if it’s moving), don’t attempt driving through it. It is definitely unsafe to drive through a flood but sometimes, if it’s really required, generally, a clearance of 12 to 14cm is required to ensure that your car will be able to go through. You can gauge this depth by looking at the kerb and seeing how high the water is. If the kerb is submerged, it’s best to stop on the side and wait for the floodwaters to subside before continuing on your journey.
With the unpredictable weather we have, sometimes, it’s just not possible to turn around. There are a few things to keep in mind if you’re driving during a flash flood so here’re our top tips on keeping you and possibly your family safe.
Drive in the middle
Although it might be seen as being impolite on the road, driving in the middle of the road could be the safest in flood conditions. The centre of the road tends to be the shallowest and thus, safer for you to travel on.
Instead driving next to another vehicle in a double lane road, it’s best to form a single file and slowly make your way. The car in front of you can help move water out of the way so yours will be able to grip the road better. Additionally, you won’t have to deal with the stress of your windshield getting splashed with water and obscuring your vision, and vice versa.
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Slowly and steadily
We mentioned hydroplaning before and that’s why you should drive slowly. In the event you have to cross the water, enter slowly and keep your momentum. Make sure to maintain your speed around 10km/h to ensure that the engine stays clear of water.
Drop to first gear and ensure that you keep revving to avoid water entering the exhaust pipe but keep your speed low and steady. Speeding up may push water into the engine. If you drive an auto car, maintain a low speed while keeping your foot on the accelerator and use the brake to regulate your speed.
Dry your brakes
No, we don’t mean to get out and physically dry your brakes but while driving. After you manage to get out of the water, your brakes will be wet which could cause you to spin out. Drive slowly and brake lightly by tapping on your brakes to dry them.
If the water is moving, it’s best to just stop by the side and wait. Even if you’re driving an SUV, did you know that a foot of water could float your vehicle? In the event where you may not have made the best choice and decide to drive through moving water and feel your car wheels losing grip, open the car door and let water in. This weighs your car down and hopefully, you’ll gain some traction and be able to get to safety.
If your car floods
In the event your car does flood, don’t restart the engine as this could cause some severe damage. And we mean damage where you’ll need to strip the engine which would costs a pretty penny. Calmly exit your car and head toward higher ground and give your insurance provider a call.
A flash flood can happen anytime especially during the rainy season and it’s extra stressful when you’re driving. If you encounter a flooded road, it’s best to turn around instead of bullishly heading straight through it. For those who simply must go through floodwaters, do it with caution.