If you are brave enough to venture out for a drive during the monsoons in India, you have to be prepared for coming face-to-face with water-logged roads and flooded streets. Flooding in India is something that cannot be avoided – no matter how experienced you are behind the wheel. Most people would tell you that driving in the rain is quite unpredictable and, if possible, you should refrain from getting in your car while the rain continues. However, if you have to, here are some handy tips to help you drive through flooded roads easily and safely.
The condition of Indian roads seems to deteriorate every year and when the monsoons hit, those conditions are worsened even further. Bad road conditions and rainwater mix to form pools or puddles all over the road. While some of these puddles are relatively shallow, there are some that are a lot deeper than you would expect. Generally, a car is designed to take on about half a foot of water comfortably. Anything higher than that and you could quickly find yourself in a pickle. If you are familiar with the roads around you and know how they react to heavy rain, you should be able to prepare yourself and pick out alternative routes. However, if you are not sure, you should always take precautions such as using Google Maps, asking people for directions and information, and following traffic updates. If you have no other option but to drive through a pool of water, take a minute to look around at other vehicles and see how they maneuver through them.
If you are an experienced driver, you should know that stopping your vehicle in a flood can lead to a sticky situation. The most important thing about driving in a flood is to keep on moving. Stopping the vehicle while standing in water can lead to flooding of the vehicle through the intake or the exhaust. You should also avoid accelerating or braking excessively hard as it could lead the car to stall. You should keep the vehicle moving at all times – even if it is at a lower speed. Driving through floods requires using lower gears such as 1st, 2nd, or 3rd as the engine is put under the added strain and there is a higher risk of the vehicle stalling at higher gears.
If you, unfortunately, find yourself stranded in a stalled vehicle on a flooded road, the biggest mistake you could make is to attempt to restart the engine. Because of the water, the connecting rods are put under excessive pressure and could quite easily break when restarting. If you think that water has already entered the vehicle through the intake or exhaust, the best thing to do is keep the engine off. This simple step will keep the damage limited to a minimal amount and will eventually save you a lot of money in repairs. When you find your car stalled in a flood, keep the engine off and push the vehicle to an area that is not flooded. Once the car is out of the water, you can go on to call emergency services to check out the damage.
Although it is relatively rare to find yourself trapped in a car with the water level outside reaching over the window level, there could be a flash flood that traps you inside your stalled vehicle. If you find yourself in this situation, the only thing you need to do is stay calm and know your surroundings. If you can, get out of the vehicle before the water pressure outside keeps the doors closed. If you cannot get out and the doors are closed, try and roll the windows down quickly and get out of the vehicle. If you are faced with a situation where the water level is beyond the window, you have to get out, no matter what. Use your legs to try and push the doors open but if you cannot, look for a metallic object with a blunt edge that can be used to break the glass windows. Car headrests have metal spikes that can be used to smash the glass and make escaping easier. However, you should remember that the glass used for the windshield is a lot harder and tougher to break.
Once you have managed to get your vehicle out of the floods, you have to make sure that everything is working, especially the brakes. Pump the brakes when you find a dry area off the road as it will help get excess water out of the vehicle. Water build-up can cause the brakes to fail and can eventually create a dangerous driving situation. By getting out the excess water, it will allow the car to move smoothly and respond quickly to commands by the driver.
There you go, 5 important tips that are sure to help you get through flooded roads or large pools of water safely. If you have to drive your vehicle this monsoon, these tips are extremely handy to keep with you – especially if you live in an area that is prone to quick flooding.
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