SAFETY TIPS FOR DRIVING THROUGH FLOOD
As rainfall continues to hike, car and motorbike drivers also need to be more alert when on the road. Surface can get slippery, while water in holes makes it difficult to determine how deep the hole is and whether it is risky to drive through.
If you can’t take a detour or wait until the water recedes, a driver should at least strategize before deciding to drive through flood. Remember, a bad decision can lead to serious consequences, such as the vehicle being trapped in water and becomes severely damaged.
Even a sport utility vehicle (SUV) can get in trouble. A car is only as good as its driver. Despite an SUV’s higher ground clearance, an unskilled driver behind the wheel may still drive unsuccessfully through flood.
To make sure you’re always well prepared, here are some things to heed before deciding to drive through flood.
1. Observe water level
Always try to assess the water level before you push the accelerator. You also do not want to be the first to drive through. So, stop, and observe the situation. Another car may take the lead, and cross successfully. If so, you may follow the other car’s path. But, when in doubt, do not continue. Seek alternative route or simply wait until the road is safer.
One safety rule of thumb when it comes to water level is that water should not submerge more than half of your wheel height or exceed the car’s bumper. Too high, and the water may get into the engine room in front.
2. Know where your air filter and intake, as well as muffler, are positioned
One thing to worry about when driving through flood is water getting into the air intake. This will cause water hammer or hydro locking, causing the engine to break down. Water in the combustion chamber may also create pressure in the cylinder room, resulting in damaged and bent piston rings.
3. Move slowly at a low, but stable speed level
Drive slowly at a constant speed. For automatic drivers, you can keep the clutch at ‘L’. For manual drivers, keep at the first gear and keep your foot off the transmission pedal. The vehicle needs to move slowly to avoid water from getting in the water intake and engine chamber.
4. What to do in a flash flood?
In a case of flash flood, where water level suddenly goes up and you’re trapped, the first thing to do is to turn off the engine. Do not keep the engine running when surrounded by water, as water may damage the electrical system and the Engine Control Unit (ECU) – the component that controls fuel injection to the engine.
If you need to evacuate, shift your clutch to N (Neutral), or shift lock in automatic car so that the car can be evacuated later.
5. Take your car to the workshop
Now, you may have survived crossing a flooded road. But hold your celebration because your car can be bearing the brunt. To make sure everything is safe and damage-free, take the car to an auto shop for a thorough check.