If you haven’t noticed by now, we’re having a somewhat… wet Winter season. From puddles stretching across half a country road, to floods transforming your local Main Street into a murky river, we thought we’d start off the new year with a little FYI on driving in water.
You may think you know all there is about driving through water, we mean, you’ve read about it and you’ve seen it lots of time on the television. Physically driving through a large body of water, however, can be very nerve wrecking. To combat this our first rule when driving through a large body of water is not to panic.
When Faced With a Flood…
Breathe. Before make sure the flooded section of road is shallow enough for you to drive through. 6 inches of water can reach up to the bottom of your doors and has the potential to be sucked into your exhaust pipe. If this happens your car can suffer great and costly damage- especially if the flood water is pulled into your cylinders or if it cracks the catalytic converter in your exhaust.
The centre of the road will be shallower than the edges though, if you’re at all uncertain, turn around and find a different route.
When Driving Through a Flood…
If you have no choice but to drive through the flooded section of road, put your vehicle into 1st or 2nd gear and drive through at a brisk walking pace. If you attempt to drive through a flood at speed, as soon as you hit the water, the feeling will be similar to hitting a brick wall. If you manage to keep control of your car after that you’ll risk forcing water up over your bonnet and into your engine.
Slow and steady wins the race… at least with flood water. If you feel your wheels start to lose traction, your vehicle might well be trying to float. It’s a pain, but to counterbalance this open one of your doors and let a little water inside- this will help to weigh down your vehicle until you’ve reached the other side.
When Coming Out of Flood Water
Once you’ve survived the treacherous journey through the water, it’s important to make sure your vehicle is in good working order. Drying out your breaks is your first point of call. Gentle push down on your breaks as you’re driving to remove excess water.
Just because you may be driving an awesome 4×4 doesn’t mean you’re safe from flood water either. Flowing water is always dangerous and only 2ft of flowing water can sweep your vehicle away. Make sure you always check the depth of the water before you attempt any kind of crossing.