Flood Safety

We all have seen videos of drivers driving through flooded roads. Some make it safely to the other side and some may be rescued by passers-by. Sometimes the vehicles are washed away in the strong currents causing loss of lives.

The safest and wisest thing to do when facing a flooded road is simply to find another route. Why driving through floods is not worth it:

  • The water may be hiding a pothole, debris, or a washed-out road, all of which could cause you to stop midway or get washed away.
  • Cars today have little ground clearance hence water can easily interfere with the exhaust system or seeps into the engine and cabin.
  • Water can cause severe engine or electrical system damage. Once it hits the fan or rotating belt, water is thrown everywhere inside the engine compartment.
  • SUVs with a snorkel for air intake (very few have it in our region) may be able to wade through stagnant water for some time but can only be done by a trained and experienced driver. The modern cars may get damaged if they wade even through shallow waters.
  • Flowing water is extremely dangerous. A small trickle over the road may be a precursor to an oncoming torrent after you start crossing.
  • Vehicles may begin to float in just 30 cm of water, causing loss of control. Most vehicles, including SUVs, can float away in just 60 cm of fast-flowing water.
  • The vehicle may skid and slide uncontrollably even if the paved road is having a very small amount of water. This is why many accidents happen during the rainy season as drivers lose control over such stretches at high speed.
  • Driving at speed into 15 cm of water feels much like a crash, as you decelerate instantaneously on impact, which can cause loss of control and can harm those who are not wearing seatbelts inside the vehicle.
  • Don’t attempt to cross if water reaches above the footboard level. Also, keep in mind that brakes don’t work well, or may fail if wheels are immersed in the water.
  • If you insist on driving through regardless of the hazards, do it one vehicle at a time. This way you can avoid getting trapped behind another vehicle in case it breaks down in the middle of the passage.
  • Don’t try to overtake another vehicle during a flood-like situation to avoid accidents.
  • Don’t stop or change gears during your attempt to cross a flooded road as water may flow in the exhaust and cause engine to seize.
  • Once you have crossed the flooded road ensure your vehicle is working fine and the engine has not been affected, rev up the engine to dry the excess water and do not switch off the engine for some time.
  • If the interior of the car was affected by water, make sure you dry it well before the next use and clean it using disinfectant to avoid the growth of mold and fungus inside the vehicle.

After the vehicle has been through flooded roads get the vehicle examined by a mechanic. Running it, or even just trying to start it, may cause severe damage if water has gone anywhere it should not have.

Adapted from www.wheels.ca