Prepare for rainy drives and conquer flooded roads with these helpful tips for a smooth and safe journey this season
Lately, there has been a string of recent severe downpours in the Metro Manila area. Since most locations lack an efficient and well-maintained water canal system, it should come as no surprise that flooding is a constant problem here. Most people believe that there is always a way to get through a flooded road, but there are times when you simply cannot confront the oncoming flood head-on. During these instances, it’s crucial to be well-informed so that you don’t lose control of your vehicle in the midst of this crisis. In light of that, here are a few tips for staying safe on the road this monsoon season.
Do not even try it
Let’s get the most important stuff out of the way first. It is never a good idea to risk driving through floodwaters, even if you find yourself in the middle of a trip and have no choice. If you come across any flooding on the road ahead, it’s best to turn around and just reschedule.
Check how deep your car can go in water
Water wading depth, in layman’s terms, refers to the maximum depth of water that your car can travel through. Most high-riding vehicles, such as the Ford Everest, Ford Ranger, Nissan Terra, Montero Sport, and many others, have a water wading depth of 800 mm or more, making them more than capable of driving through floods. If you can confidently wade through the water in your vehicle, go ahead; otherwise, try to find another way around.
If the flood is so bad that you have no choice but to drive through it, do it slowly so that you don’t lose control of your vehicle. It is recommended that the second gear be used for manual vehicles and the L gear be used for automatic vehicles when traveling at speeds of less than 1,500 to 2,000 rpm.
Turn on the hazard lights
In extreme weather, turning on your vehicle’s headlights and warning lights will increase your visibility and alert other drivers to your presence. You can also use the lights to see how deep the water is on a flooded road and avoid any potential hazards.
Create one lane
A bow wave created by approaching vehicles can make the water deeper in some spots, making it more likely that your vehicle will be swept away. Instead of driving by and potentially dumping water onto other vehicles, it is better to create a single lane behind other drivers.
Stick to the center
Take advantage of the fact that the center of the road is higher than either of the sides. If you drive in the middle, there is less of a possibility that you may strike a curb or drive onto a verge that is soft.
Turn off the air-conditioner
The air conditioner’s fan can induce water into the engine, which could cause the engine to knock, so turning it off is your best bet if you’re worried about splashing water in it.
Never try to start an already-stopped engine
If you restart the engine while it is in the high-water level area, there is a chance that water could reach the engine, as well as the electrical system, which will cause additional damage.
There’s no need to panic if you get trapped
Standing water exerts significantly greater force on a car’s doors than you might imagine when the car is submerged. A possible outcome is that the doors will not open. One must remember to maintain composure and not freak out in such a situation. The next step is to try to push the door open using both legs. If that doesn’t work, stay calm and see if somebody nearby can help or try to contact someone who can.
Get the brakes dry
Last but not least, you should avoid a spin-out once you’ve crossed the water. After passing through the flood, you can dry your brakes by driving very slowly while applying light pressure to the brake pedal.