Tips for driving through flooded roads

The monsoon is now in full swing and with it comes the fear of flooding and the issue of having to navigate water-logged streets. It’s not uncommon to experience torrential rainfall, and the sewer systems can only handle so much excess water and waste. This makes waterlogging a serious but rather common problem. Here are some tips that’ll help you survive monsoons in India.

1. Avoid stagnant pools of water

Avoid driving through flooded areas when possible. While some SUVs come with a company-claimed water wading depth, most cars are not meant to be driven through more than half-a-foot of water. Check Google Maps, follow traffic updates, be alert while drivingand find alternate routes. Pay attention to other cars, bikes, trucks and pedestrians to gauge how deep the water is before attempting to wade through.

2. Keep moving

If a flooding situation does arise, do your best to keep moving through the water. Do not accelerate suddenly or brake too hard, just keep a steady momentum. If the car stops in standing water, there is a chance that water may creep into parts like the intake and exhaust. When moving through the water, use a lower gear (first, second or third, depending on the speed) and keep the engine revs on the higher side. Wading through water puts additional strain on the engine, and using the third gear, instead of the first, could lead to the car stalling.

3. Do not restart the engine if stalled in water

In case the car has stalled in a water-logged area, don’t restart it immediately. There are multiple reasons for this, starting with the water putting more pressure on the engine’s connecting rods, which could lead to them breaking. If water has entered the engine through the intake or exhaust, it could cause serious engine damage and burn a hole in your pocket when it comes to repairs. If you suspect water has entered the engine, switch off the car immediately to avoid further damage. Push the car to an area that is not flooded and then call emergency services for help.

Tips for driving through flooded roads

4. Don’t panic if you get stuck inside

When a car is stuck in water, the force that standing water exerts on the doors is much higher than you might think. This could prevent the doors from opening. In such a scenario, the first thing to do is keep calm. Next, attempt to open the doors by pushing it with both legs. If this does not work, use a heavy, blunt object (a tyre iron or headrests) to break the windows. However, don’t go for the windscreen, as it is usually far more difficult to break. It is always safer to ditch a water-logged car and walk to dry ground than attempt to drive there in a submerged car.

5. Pump the brakes

After you’ve successfully cleared a body of water, pumping the brakes will help push out any water accumulated in the area. Water in the brakes hinders proper brake usage. This issue is more prevalent for cars with drum brakes, and considering most models on sale in India have rear drums, this action is recommended.

6. Turn off the engine if stranded in the car

When stranded in a water-logged street, the most common move is to wait it out in your car with the engine running and air conditioning on. This is not advisable. A situation like this could result in carbon monoxide (a colourless and odourless gas) seeping into the cabin. If you begin to feel fatigue or drowsiness when waiting for the water level to subside, you need to get out. Drowsiness or fatigue can be associated with carbon monoxide inhalation that can lead to fatal consequences. If you do get stranded and plan to wait in your car, it is safer to crank down the windows (not all the way!) and turn off the engine.

7. Disconnect the battery

Disconnecting the battery can help preserve the electrical systems of your car, but this is not guaranteed. One of the benefits of this is reducing the risk of a short circuit when the electrical components come into contact with water. Disconnecting the battery would expose the components to minimal damage.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2022 7:04:47 PM |

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