The Sentinel

5 tips to drive through flooded roads

June 1, 2022
Avoid standing pools of water
In general, avoid driving through flooded areas when possible. While some SUVs come with a company-claimed water wading depth, most cars are not meant to be driven through over half-a-foot of water. Check Google Maps, talk to people on the road, follow traffic updates on social media or radio, and be alert while driving to stay away from flooded roads and find alternate routes.
Keep moving
If a flooding situation does arise, do your best to keep moving through the water and don’t stop. Do not accelerate suddenly or brake too hard, just keep a steady momentum. If the car stops in standing water, there is a chance that water may creep into vital parts like the intake and exhaust. When moving through water, use a lower gear (first, second or third, depending on the speed) and keep the engine revs on the higher side
Do not restart the engine if stalled in water
In case the car has stalled in a waterlogged area, don’t try and restart it immediately. There are multiple reasons – like water putting more pressure on the engine’s connecting rods, which could lead to them breaking. In addition, if water has entered the engine through the intake or exhaust, it could cause serious engine damage and burn a rather large hole in your pocket when it comes to repairs.
Don’t panic if you get stuck inside
When a car is stuck in water, the force that standing water exerts on the doors is much higher than you might think. This could prevent the doors from opening. In such a scenario, the first thing to do is to keep calm and not panic. Then, attempt to open the doors by pushing it with both legs. In case this does not work, use a heavy, blunt object (anything from a tyre iron to the headrests) to break one of the windows.
Pump the brakes once clear of water
After you’ve successfully cleared a body of water, pumping the brakes will help push out any water that may have accumulated in the area. Water in the brakes naturally hinders proper brake usage. This issue is more prevalent on cars with drum brakes, and considering most models on sale in India have rear drums, this action is recommended.