While North India is still awaiting monsoon and to receive some relent from the scorching heat, it has already started pouring in parts of the country. And the infamous Mumbai rains are here. Back in 2005, Mumbai was brought to a halt due to excessive rains and because the city's drainage system couldn't handle the downpour, leaving thousands stranded on the roads in their cars. We hope we never get to see such a situation again and everyone gets home safely. But it is raining profusely and some little tips & tricks can help you drive safer in such conditions.
We bring you some dos and donts if you must drive in such weather conditions, the first one being that drive only if absolutely necessary. If it isn't all that important or if it is for leisure, postpone the drive. If you are driving, here are some tips:
1) Underestimating a puddle in the roads can be a bad idea since water (which will most certainly be brown and not crystal clear) hides dips in the roads. If you can't walk through it, you probably shouldn't drive through it ion your city car.
Water, as deep as six inches, can easily reach the bottom of most passenger cars which can be problematic. One can lose control or the car could stall if the water gets sucked into the exhaust or washes into the air intake.
2) In situations like these, try driving in the middle of the street where the water should be the shallowest. Look out for each other, there will be other drivers on the road. Pass one at a time.
3) Be gentle when driving through a waterlogged street, even if the water is as little as 15 cm. Speeding in such situations could put you at risk of losing control and it's only civilised not to splash water on others. Lower speeds will ensure better control.
4) Take a note of where the air intake is placed in your car. If it sucks in water, the engine could stall. But if that does happen, do not attempt to start the engine again since it will make the situation much worse. If it has sucked in water, the engine would later have to be taken care of later.
5) Using first or second gear is advisable while wading through the water slowly to avoid creating large waves in the water that could wash back into the engine. Slipping the clutch and revving the engine will also help to keep the exhaust clear and keep the engine running.
6) Once you've driven through it, try and dry your brakes. Drive slow and apply brakes to let water out and check if they are in good shape.
7) A classic mistake most people make is underestimating the depth of water. Small city cars can get afloat in water as deep as one foot, and if that happens wheels lose grip leaving the driver with no control whatsoever.
Water deeper than 1-1.5 feet is capable of sweeping away most cars, including large four-wheel-drive cars. NEVER attempt to drive through water that deep and fast-moving.