Mumbai rains: Tips for safe driving through flood water, if you really have to

Driving in such chaotic weather conditions, if you really must, can be tricky. Here are some tips to help you get home safely

By: | Updated: August 31, 2017 3:55 PM

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The situation in Mumbai today is reminiscent of what happened in 2005 when thousands of people were stranded in their offices and cars because of excessive rains. Massive rain clouds have disrupted flights, waterlogged tracks have bogged down trains, several have been left injured in various accidents. An integral part of Mumbai's lifeline, dabbawallahs are also forced out of operation. The notorious Mumbai traffic jams have been extended even further. Driving in such chaotic weather conditions, if you really must, can be tricky. Here are some tips to help you get home safely:

The don't will perhaps be more relevant here as a precaution is better than cure:

1) Firstly, get behind the wheel only if it is absolutely necessary. All leisure or mildly necessary driving will have to wait.

2)Never underestimate a puddle. Do not try to drive through water that you couldn't walk through and be aware that water hides dips in the road. Worse still, there may be no road at all under the water. Flooding can wash away the entire road surface and a significant amount of ground beneath.

3)Even six inches of water can prove disastrous, reaching the bottom of most passenger cars. One can lose control or the car could stall if the water gets sucked into the exhaust or washes into the air intake.

4) If you see a road water logged ahead, try to drive in the middle where the water will be the shallowest. And having said that consider other drivers on the road - pass one at a time.

5)Small city cars can get afloat in water as deep as one foot. If that happens and wheels lose the grip, the driver will not have control on the car whatsoever.

6)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 fast-moving water.

Negotiating through flood water

a)Watch your speed, even at depths as little as 15 cm. Speeding in such situations could put you at risk of losing control and jeopardising others too. Nurse your car through such waterlogged patches on the road at low speeds for better control.

b)If you must drive in floods, check the depth of the water before entering it. Water over 25 cm or up to the centre of the wheels should be avoided by small cars. It may be annoying to get off the car and check the depth, but it could save you a disaster.

c)Be aware where or how low are the air intakes placed on your car. If the air intake sucks in water, the car could stall. In the event of that happening, do not attempt to restart the car as that will worsen the situation. The engine would later have to be taken care of.

Also read: Mumbai rains: What to do if your car is submerged in flood water

d)While wading through water, use first or second gear and drive slowly to avoid creating a large wave 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.

e)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.

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