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How to Drive Safely and Properly Throughout the Heavy Flooding Water

Updated on November 16, 2012

Check for Any Interior Damp Patches

Change the Engine Oil

Change the Transmission Fluid When Necessary

Check the Air Filter

Check the Brake Pads

Investigate Lights and Indicators

If you are – or probably in need of – driving out when there are heavy floods – which may also be accompanied by thunderstorm at the same time, you are about to put your life at stakes unless you really know what you should do and not panic. Of course, you are better off staying at home but, as mentioned earlier, you may need to drive out to accomplish some tasks even though there are heavy floods here and there. Therefore, the following tips, hopefully, may come in pretty handy for you in such a situation.

Don’t Count on This Assumption as Other Drivers Do

Some drivers out there are quite sure that they are not quite likely to have any problems driving their car throughout the heavy floods in case they maintain the tires of their car in perfect shape. Unfortunately, this is a wrong assumption. As a matter of fact, even if they are driving a 4WD vehicle with perfectly working tires, it is still uneasy to get past the floods.

RogerCrathorne, who is the Land Rover Driving Experience manager, also confirms this. He even mentions that floods can put a 4WD vehicle to a complete standstill due to the water that gets into the engine. Roger also suggests that car owners be very careful about where the air intake of their car is located. Some cars, not excluding the 4WD ones, have their intake built on a pretty low spot causing it to be very vulnerable to floods.

Try to Estimate How Deep the Floods Are

To do this, you can pull over before you get to the floods. When you are on the side of the roads, you can pay attention to how other drivers – either the ones with cars larger than yours or the ones that drive cars about the size of yours – get along the heavy floods. This will give you a clue on how you may get through safely. In addition to that, you should also need to take into accounts how high the water is. If you think it is higher than the bottom edge of any of your car doors, the water may get through to the engine compartment. As a result, you may experience stalling.

Drive Slowly

On flooding roads, you will be better off driving your car in first gear. This will keep your car going slowly and will prevent a bow wave. Trust me, you won’t want to make a bow wave. It has a potential of damaging your car severely and you may need to spend a fortune to get things fixed. That said, you may want to let oncoming cars go first.

Do not Drive by the Roadside

Always keep in mind that it is the middle of the road that is the crown of the road. Therefore, the floodwater is often at its shallowest in the middle of the road. So, don’t let the floodwater get into your engine compartment by driving alongside the flooding road.

Additionally, if you accidentally run into fast moving floods – especially if you are driving on a bridge, you will have to refrain from driving fast as long as you can. Otherwise, you may find yourself washed away inside the car!

What If There Is Standing Water?

This situation is known to be very dangerous. If you try to get past it driving fast, you will lose control over your steering and the tires of your car will suffer from aquaplaning. When possible, refrain from driving through the standing water at all costs. However, if aquaplaning happens, you will have to hold your steering wheel only lightly while at the same time lifting off your throttle so that your tires will be able to regain grip.

Standing water is also very disadvantageous for fast moving cars as it is very capable of stalling a car completely although there is only a little amount of water that manages to get to the engine compartment. You should pay even more attention in case your car uses a diesel engine or a turbocharged petrol. These kind of cars are very prone to stalling.

Rev Your Engine Continuously

To get your car past heavy floods, you need to rev your engine all the time so that the engine has enough power to keep on going. Slipping the clutch will help you with this. Besides this may help you avoid stalling, it may also help you keep away the floods from getting into the exhaust of your car.

Does Your Engine Stall After All? Try These Tips

Of course, you will need other people to help you tow out your car from the floods. While waiting for rescue, you are often better off remaining inside your car, especially if you are not sure if the floods are moving or how deep they may possibly be.

In addition to that, do not open your car bonnet. Make sure it stays closed instead. If the bonnet gets opened, the electric parts in it may get soaked and you will find it very hard to start your car engine again.

Now You’ve Successfully Driven Past the High Water, But Wait…

Following all those tips above may help you drive through the heavy floods safely and properly. However, you cannot feel happy yet right after you have got through the flooding roads. Instead, here are some other tips you may have to follow.

Check For Damages and Damp Patches

When you have got over the heavy floods, you need to see if there are any bumps, cracks, scratches or anything hanging off your car. You will also have to check your car interior. If you notice any damp patches anywhere on the upholstery, door panels or carpets, you should do something instead of waiting for the patches to dry out over time. If you wait for the damp patches to dry out, you will smell very annoying damp odor. Yet, if you are not quite willing to clean the patches yourself, you can always call the professionals for their service.

Check Engine Oil and Transmission Fluid

Remember that water can get into the fluid of your transmission. You can tell when it happens if you notice that the fluid looks milky, beige or diluted. In this case, you are highly recommended not to drive your car out but to tow it instead to get it repaired as soon as possible.

How Is the Air Filter?

Air filter is also a crucial element of your car. If it gets damp, it is time for a replacement. Do not forget to change the oil as well.

Check Underneath Your Car

When you have just got over a heavy flood, you need to go underneath your car. This is to check if any debris, grass, dirt or mud exists. Remember that any of them may well trigger undercarriage damage. Therefore, you need to wash them immediately.

Are Your Brakes Working?

One of the elements that may become defected due to floods or water is your braking system. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you make sure it works after the floods. However, if your brakes are not responding as they are supposed to, contact the professionals soon without hesitation.

Are the Lights and Indicators Working?

Water – along with rust – can damage your light and indicator bulbs. Therefore, you need to make sure that there is no water in them. If there is, however, you may have to replace the bulbs. Yet, replacing them or not, you should always check that they are still working correctly despite the water.

Finally, Test Running Your Car

This is the final step you are supposed to take. In case you notice any rather unfamiliar noises while you are running your car, you need to check it out in no time at all. One rule of thumb, though, if you are not sure what to do, you had better get some services from the skilled professionals.

© 2011 Richie Setiawan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Examine underneath the Car


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    • profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Hello there, thanks a lot for the feedback. :) Stay tuned for my other hubs coming soon. Also, you may find other articles of mine -- hopefully useful to you, too -- at :)

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      Excellent safety tips- and photos, too! Voted useful :D


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