Driving in the monsoon can be challenging — low visibility, limited traction, and flooded roads. The latter has become a growing concern as vehicles are affected by raising water levels either at their parking or when they come across a scenario where they need to cross a flooded road. Here is a detailed process as to what needs to be done if you have to drive through a flooded road and what to do after driving through one.
Driving through flooded road
Most places will encounter standing water on the roads and at times, even driving over a small puddle can lead to accidents. When travelling fast over standing water, a vehicle will tend to hydroplane — a process in which the tyres will briefly lose contact with the road surface and travel on a film of water sitting on the road. When a vehicle hydroplanes, one briefly loses steering and braking, which can lead to a dangerous situation.
The only solution to this is to watch out and drive slow. However, if you do need to drive over standing water, slow down and get the car into a lower gear before going over it. As soon as you cross it, do not 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 carry on as usual.
If there is more water than expected, like higher than the bumper, this becomes a tricky situation. Try and avoid that road completely if possible. However, if there’s no other go, here’s what you need to do.
Stop before entering the flooded part of the road and walk it. Do not attempt if there’s flowing water, however, on standing water, firstly walk the distance 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 understand how deep the water is. If it’s above the bonnet level, do not go ahead.
However, if it’s below your bonnet level, put the car in first, keep the revs high, and slowly dive through. Keep the acceleration steady and keep moving. Do not stop or take your foot off the gas, just keep going at a steady pace till you cross. Once you are through, maintain the rpm for a few seconds, but get the car to neutral and stop without switching off the engine. At this time, it’s common for the instrument console to light up like a Christmas tree, as all or some warning lights may come on, but that’s okay. Let the car idle for a few minutes and once all the lights go off, switch off the vehicle.
If the above-mentioned step goes well, all is fine, however, if the car stalls while crossing, do not attempt to restart the vehicle. Get out and away from the water and call an authorised service centre to get the vehicle towed away and checked. Starting the engine can cause it to hydro lock, as water can enter the combustion chamber (cylinder) and cause permanent damage to the engine.
Car in flooded parking
The same is to be followed when your car park is flooded overnight, as water can get into the exhaust, air filter, and other exposed electrical components. In such a situation, do not start the car and get it towed to an authorised service centre. Insist on changing all the fluids and get the vehicle washed and greased (on select vehicles) once it’s done.