Monsoon driving tips: Tips and tricks to drive through flooded roads
While the monsoon provides the much-needed respite from the scorching heat of the summers in India, it also brings with it a raft of problems for motorists. Call it poor civic planning or natural calamity, but several areas in the country are flooded in rains every year. This problem takes a form in mountain regions where landslides can destroy bridges and roads, forcing motorists to wade through deep water. And it won’t be fair to say that urban cities in the country are any better at handling rains; pothole-riddled roads and improper drainage system leads to the accumulation of water on the roads, making things extremely risky for vehicle users. Now, it is best to not travel through flooded areas or waterlogged streets, but this isn’t an option for everybody. So, if you have no option but to cross a flooded street or drive on waterlogged roads, then these are some tips that can help you.
1. Slow and steady
Many people believe that driving fast across a flooded street reduces their chances of getting stuck but this is not true. Driving too fast in water will not only be a nuisance for other vehicles and pedestrians but the force of water can also damage your car. One must also no drive too slow for it could lead to vehicle stalling as water may enter the exhaust pipe. The trick is to drive at a moderate and steady pace.
2. Avoid fast-flowing flood water
If you have to cross a fast-flowing stream of floodwater, then be extra cautious for most people underestimate the force of flowing water. To make matters worse, it also becomes difficult to gauge the depth of water. So, avoid going through fast-flowing water.
3. Avoid driving on sides
Most roads in India are crowned, which means the highest part is the middle and is also the shallowest while the sides are always flooded. So, try to drive in the middle of the road to avoid deep water.
4. Pass one by one
You may not have the flexibility to do this always but it is recommended that a flooded stretch be covered one by one. This not only prevents multiple cars from getting stalled in water (in case it is very deep) but can also serve as a roadmap for other vehicles to follow while navigating the flooded stretch. If not possible to go one by one, then at least maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you so that you have ample time to react in case the vehicle in front of you gets stalled.
5. Turn off AC
If you feel that the water your vehicle is wading through is quite deep then it is recommended to turn off the AC as the fan could splash water around the engine bay. Turning off AC also reduces some engine stress and can help with the power output.
6. Do not restart the engine
If you are wading through water then try not to let the engine die out. A simple way to do this is by keeping a firm foot on the accelerator and even press the clutch halfway if needed. We recommend turning off the AC to not stress the engine. But if your vehicle ever gets stalled in water, do not (we repeat, do not) attempt to restart the engine. This is because restarting the engine could allow the water to enter the engine bay (through air intakes or exhaust route) and can lead to hydrostatic lock. In this situation, the water enters the engine cylinders and damages the pistons, spark plugs, and valves. Repairing this is an extremely costly affair and may even involve a thorough overhauling of the engine.
7. Do not force open doors
If your vehicle is stalled in water, call for help but try not to exit the vehicle. This is because the water could enter the car and damage the cabin. And if the help won’t reach you anytime soon and you have to ditch the vehicle, then see if you can gently open the door. If you sense a strong resistance, then this is because of the force exerted by water. In such a scenario, force opening the door will let the water rush inside your vehicle and damage electrical components. Instead, try to exit the car through the window; use a headrest or some heavy object to break the window if necessary. One should avoid breaking the windscreen for it is made of thicker glass as compared to windows.