We constantly hear on the news about how low-lying bridges have been washed away and some of those bridges have cars on them. Not many of us know what to do in the event of a flash flood. We asked MasterDrive to help us compile a list of steps you can take, which could potentially save your life if you are caught in a flash flood.
As drivers in heavy rain conditions, one must also be careful about pools of water. They can cause damage to your car and chances are they also have a rather deep pothole hidden beneath them. Approach them with caution and reduce your speed.
Pools of water:
• First try and estimate the depth of the water. Avoid driving through water which comes to the middle of your tyre. Even if you avoid being swept away you risk serious damage to your car;
• Most drivers risk driving through a pool of water but roads which collect water are more vulnerable to collapse and it is easy to underestimate their depth;
• Drive in the middle of a road where the water is at its lowest;
• Pass one car at a time; do not drive through water against oncoming vehicles;
• Never drive through fast-flowing water;
• It only takes 15cm to touch the bottoms of most cars and consequently cause loss of control or stalling;
• Your car tyres will lift off the tar at 30cm of water where you can lose control or get washed away;
• Even 4X4s can be washed away in 60cm of water;
• Drive slowly and steadily through, while in first or second gear, or the lowest gear in automatic vehicles;
• Once you are through the water, lightly touch your brake a few times to dry them off;
• If your car stalls and you are not in danger of being swept away do not restart the car. Rather get a mechanic to check that no water has made its way into the engine;
When caught in an unexpected flash flood:
• If you start losing grip suddenly, it might be because the car is starting to float;
• Open the door to let some of the water in, which will weigh the car down and allow the tyres to grip the road again;
• If you are in danger of being swept away abandon the vehicle once you have an opportunity to do so safely;
• If you are swept away by water when you exit the car, lift your toes and point them downstream and manoeuvre yourself around obstacles;
We strongly recommend that you be extra vigilant in wet conditions. If you are at work, maybe wait for the rain to calm down and for traffic to ease up. Wet conditions and impatient drivers can create havoc. If you hear of potential flash-flooding on your route home, take another route. We suggest that you reduce your speed and increase your concentration level in wet conditions.