How To Safely Drive Through Standing Water
Flooded roads are dangerous, and if you happen to come across one, it’s best to turn around and drive the other way. This is because standing water can hide hazards such as logs, rocks and potholes. Plus, it’s all too easy to lose control of a vehicle traversing even small pools of water. In fact, it only takes 15 centimetres of water to flood your exhaust system and leave you immobile, and 30 centimetres is enough to send your car floating downstream.
What should do on a flooded road?
If you must drive through standing water, make sure to follow these four precautions:
1. Drive in the centre of the road
The shallowest area on a flooded road is typically in the middle of it. Therefore, if it’s safe to do so, navigate over the centre of the roadway, even if it means veering out of your lane.
2. Follow other cars carefully
If there are several vehicles at the flood point watch other vehicles travel through the water before you try it. Gauge the water depth and the flow speed. If possible, drive in single file and follow a vehicle that’s larger than your own. The truck in front of you can produce a safe wake to travel in.
3. Drive slow and steady
Enter the flooded area at a crawl with a maximum speed of two or three kilometres per hour. Don’t accelerate above five or six km/h.
4. Dry your brakes
After safely driving through standing water, it’s a good idea to inspect your brakes by lightly tapping the pedal a few times. This creates heat and helps dry them out.
What should you do if you stall?
If your car floods and the engine dies, don’t try to restart it. Attempting to start your water-logged vehicle could cause major damage to your engine. If it’s safe to do so, get out of the vehicle and push it to higher ground.
If your car starts to float, open a door and allow some of the water to pool inside. It can add extra weight to the vehicle and help keep it in contact with the road. If that doesn’t work, try and get to the roof of your vehicle and call for help.
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