Snapshot – Poor drainage system across most Indian cities means that the slightest deluge floods many roads. While traffic comes to a crawl due to water logging, the bigger danger lies in driving through these flooded roads. From a hydrostatic locks that destroys engines to accidents due to unknown objects lurking under waterlogged roads, driving conditions across flooded roads are perilous to say the least. While avoiding flooded roads is your best bet, there might be situations where you don’t have an option but to drive across a flooded road. CarToq lists out tips that you need to follow while driving across a flooded/waterlogged stretch of tarmac.
Driving at breakneck speed through a puddle in a bit butch SUV can be thrilling but even large, powerful SUVs can get bogged down in a large mass of water which is flowing in the opposite direction. Hatchbacks and sedans? Don’t even think about such antics. Spotting a water logged road should immediately put you on high alert and if you can figure out how deep the water actually is, your options are to drive along, pull over or turn around.
Assess water depth
If you do decide to drive on, you first need to figure how deep the puddle or flooded road is. There are two ways to do it. On is to check the amount of water in relation to the kerb, which should give you a fair idea on how deep the puddle is. The other way is to stop and watch vehicles that are moving into the puddle, which also will give you a rough idea of the water’s depth. Avoid exiting your car to check the water depth by walking across as flood waters can have hidden dangers such as open manholes and live electric wires.
Pull over if the water depth is higher than your car’s air intake
A car’s air intake is situated at the front of the vehicle. If you drive through a puddle that is as high as your air intake, the possibility of your car’s engine sucking in water and getting severely damaged is very high. Therefore, if you figure out that the depth of the water on the flooded road can reach up to your car’s air intake, simply pull over.
Drive with a steady foot on the throttle
On the other hand, if the water depth is well below that of your car’s air intake, you may drive through the puddle. Ensure that you maintain a steady foot on the accelerator/throttle pedal in the lowest gear possible so that the exhaust repels water that may try to enter your car’s engine through the exhaust system. Maintaining a high rpm in first gear at a steady speed should see you through.
Do not tail heavy vehicles
While driving through a flooded road, stay as far back as possible to a heavy vehicle such as a bus or a truck as these vehicles create waves by displacing large volumes of water while moving across a flooded road. These waves can dramatically increase the depth of water, and the risk of the engine sucking in water and going into a hydrostatic lock is very high. Therefore, avoid taking a flooded road with a heavy vehicle driving ahead of you or next to you. Discipline is the key and one vehicle passing through a flooded stretch at a time is ideal.
Keep to the middle of the road
Most roads are banked on either sides to allow water to run off. Therefore, water tends to flood deeper at the edges while leaving the middle of the road relatively shallower. Keeping to the middle of the road, or in other words, the center lane, is your best bet while driving across a flooded road. Since you won’t be able to see lane markings on a flooded road, just keep your car bang in the center of the road.
Do not attempt to drive across fast flowing water
In case of torrential downpours, low lying roads get transformed into rivers with water gushing by at high speeds. Do not attempt to drive through fast flowing water as it easily wash a car away.