Driving in the monsoon can be challenging: poor visibility, limited traction, and flooded roads. The latter has become a growing concern as vehicles are affected by rising water levels in their parking lot or when they encounter a scenario where they must cross a flooded road. Here is a detailed process of what to do if you have to drive through a flooded road and what to do after driving through one.
Most places will find standing water on the roads and sometimes even driving through a small puddle can lead to accidents. When traveling fast over standing water, a vehicle will tend to hydroplan, a process in which the tires briefly lose contact with the road surface and travel on a film of water that sits on the road. When a vehicle hydroplans, one briefly loses steering and braking, which can lead to a dangerous situation.
The only solution to this is to be careful and drive slowly. However, if you need to drive over standing water, slow down and put the car in a lower gear before driving over it. As soon as you cross it, don’t accelerate, instead check your brakes as they could be wet and may not have the same bite as before. Once all is well, you can continue as usual.
If there is more water than expected, for example above the bumper, it becomes a tricky situation. Try to avoid that path altogether if possible. However, if there is no other option, here is what you should do.
Stop before entering the flooded portion of the road and walk. Do not attempt if there is running water, however, in standing water, walk the distance first to assess the type of surface and the depth of the water. What you can also do is watch other cars if they are trying to cross that particular section as this helps to understand how deep the water is. If it is above hood level, do not continue.
However, if it’s below hood level, put the car first, keep the revs up, and go slowly. Keep the acceleration constant and keep moving. Don’t stop or take your foot off the gas, just continue at a steady pace until you cross. Once you’re done, hold the rpm for a few seconds, but bring the car to neutral and stop without turning off the engine. At this time, it is common for the instrument console to light up like a Christmas tree, as all or some of the warning lights may come on, but that’s okay. Let the car idle for a few minutes and once all the lights go out, turn off the vehicle.
If the above mentioned step goes well, all is well, however, if the car stalls while crossing, do not attempt to restart the vehicle. Get out and away from the water and call an authorized service center to have the vehicle towed and serviced. Starting the engine can cause it to seize as water can enter the combustion chamber (cylinder) and cause permanent engine damage.
The same should be followed when your parking lot floods overnight, as water can enter the exhaust, air filter, and other exposed electrical components. In such a situation, do not start the car and tow it to an authorized service center. Insist on changing all fluids and wash and oil the vehicle (on select vehicles) when you’re done.
You can read more about how to maintain your vehicle during the monsoon and monsoon driving tips to help you become a better driver and not let the rain ruin your day.
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