Five tips on driving safely on flooded road

Five tips on driving safely on flooded road
Tunde Ajaja

Photo courtesy Joe Akintola

Daniel’ s journey back home on Saturday was smooth and fun – filled. He had his children and lovely wife in the car , thus , they chatted and cracked jokes . They had gone to attend a wedding in Ibadan and looked forward to being home in Lekki, Lagos in about one and a half hours .

They were already at the popular Redemption Camp in Mowe , Ogun State when the rain started . For someone driving a relatively new saloon car , Daniel foresaw no trouble . Even when the rain was becoming heavy , Daniel was confident they would be home in record time . And given the intensity of the rain , he had to drive at snail speed .

But as they got to Ozumba Mbadiwe Street in Victoria Island , Daniel ran into troubled waters. He kept driving until he made it to the Lekki – Epe Expressway where his car stopped working suddenly .

He recalled , “ I thought we could go through it till we would be home, but the rain didn ’ t subside. The flood was much , especially when we got to the Lekki- Epe Expressway . At that time , some vehicles had already broken down on the road , but I trusted my car . But close to Law School Bus Stop , the vehicle stopped moving and the engine went off. By that time , the water had reached my bonnet . ”

Still at loss as to what could have happened , he tried switching on the engine but it never responded . Thus , they had to remain there for a long time until help came their way . “ At the end of the day , we had to tow the vehicle and as I ’ m talking to you , the vehicle is still in the mechanic ’ s workshop , ” he added .

It is inevitable to drive in the rain , but it is not uncommon to see people run into such troubles in the rainy season , even when they follow traffic rules and their vehicle is in good condition . However , to avoid being stuck , there are tips that could help :

If your vehicle stops in a flood :

Like Daniel , many people driving in the rain have found themselves in situations whereby the vehicle would stop working . To a large extent, one could surmise that something could have gone wrong with the vehicle ’ s electrical system . However , if it happens , the Chief Executive Officer , Automedics , Mr . Kunle Shonaike , says the worst thing to do would be to make an attempt to restart the vehicle , as people are wont to do . He said , “ If your vehicle stops in a flood , please make no attempt to start the engine , have the battery completely removed and arrange a tow . Any attempt to start the engine will cause grave damage that will cost a lot of money . So , remove the battery to avoid electrical short circuits and minimal damage to electronic control units. Check the presence of water inside the transmission , if your finding is positive, early repairs may save you buying another transmission . Also , have the transmission system scanned to know what is faulty apart from water in the transmission system . ”

Pull over if the water level is much:

If Daniel had known confidence and optimism would not be enough to drive a saloon car through flood , he probably would have pulled over and wait for the rain and the flood water that accompanied it to subside. According to experts , this is one option people rarely consider , because they think there should be no trouble . They warned that it is best to pull over once you find yourself on a flooded road and the rain is not subsiding or if it’ s gaining intensity. According to an auto expert and Chief Executive Officer , Auto Care Ltd . , Rasaq Toriola , people could discontinue their journey if the rain is continuous and the road is flooded already . He added , “ If your vehicle is in good condition , you can give a try, say if you are familiar with the terrain . But people who have bad sight or vision impairment should not try it. Stay where you are until the atmosphere is clear . ” He added that driving on a flooded road in traffic has its bad side . He added, “There are things to consider . If there is no traffic jam and you are just driving through the water , which should be at a reasonable level , there should be no problem . But if there is traffic jam, I would advise you not to go inside it because staying there might affect the engine , and the water might find its way into the vehicle. ”

Know the level of water that is too much for your vehicle :

Driving on a flooded road can be a tough task , but it should be noted that not every flood water on the road poses danger to the vehicle . According to Toriola , for a sport utility vehicle , the level of the flood water should not be above three feet. Also for a saloon car , the level of the water should not be more than between 1 ft. and 1 . 5 ft. He said anything more than these could pose danger for the vehicle, as it could get to some components and cause some damage . “ In effect , once the water rises to the level of the vehicle ’ s bumper, there could be trouble because the water could get into some parts of the engine that could eventually damage. ”

Don ’t drive in flowing flood water :

Over time, people have believed that the weight of a vehicle is enough to withstand any flowing water , and some people would even speed while driving on flooded roads . But perception might be wrong after all. Video evidences and people’ s personal experiences have shown that fast -moving water could sweep off a vehicle . Toriola said the best way out is to avoid such situation. He said , “ If the volume of water is much and it is moving with speed, it can sweep a vehicle off the road. The volume of the water , its speed and how big the vehicle is matter in this regard. But overall , people should avoid finding themselves in that situation. If it happens , you need to navigate yourself to a safe place. Once you feel something is not right with the way the water is pushing your vehicle , especially towards its direction of flow , you should navigate to a safe place. The most important is your safety . ”

Avoid speeding :

Sometimes people dare the odds to speed even when it’ s raining , especially when the vehicle is in good condition and the tyres are very okay . But according to experts , that is not the right way to drive at such times . Toriola says once it is raining , people should drive at relatively low speed . He said the average speed should be between 40 and 60 km / h . “ In some cases, the road could be slippery and the break might be bad . If you are on speed and there is sudden occurrence , how do you handle it without running into another vehicle or an obstruction ? Driving at low speed enables the driver to be in firm control and that is important at such times , especially when you are not familiar with that environment . ”

Meanwhile , Toriola advised further that people make sure their vehicle is in good condition before driving in the rain . “ If the vehicle is not in good condition and you are stuck , then you have to do double work, ” he added . He explained that people should make sure their wiper is effective and efficient , and that people should endeavour to use their air -conditioning system so they could have a clear view of the road ahead . He added , “ The purpose of having the air conditioning on is to clear the windscreen. If the water level is okay , I don ’ t see any reason why you shouldn ’ t use it. It’ s when the water level is above the normal level that you have to think twice because you don ’ t want the water to knock off the compressor . ”
Source: The Punch


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s