Tips to securely navigate watery roads

By Timothy Albrite

As a continuation of our previous article on what’s permissible amidst flooded roads, we bring you guidelines to safely navigate flooded roads. 

Precautions;

Measurement Tool: Use a stick or similar object to measure the depth of water. Relying on intuition is not enough; a tangible measurement is key.

When to Stop: Stop when the water in front is on the verge of surpassing knee level. This is the threshold where risks escalate.

Risks Associated with Water;

  • Weakened Ground: Wet soil weakens road foundations, bridges, and pathways, posing an unforeseen risk.
  • Getting Stuck: Moving through waterlogged areas might lead to vehicles getting stuck, adding an unwelcome delay to your journey.
  • Encounters with Reptiles: Floodwaters may bring reptiles closer to human pathways, creating an unexpected hazard.
  • Potential for Sliding: Wet roads increase the likelihood of vehicles sliding, especially on inclined terrains.
  • Infected Water: Floods often carry waterborne diseases, making contact with contaminated water a health risk.
  • Electrocution Hazards: Submerged electrical components pose a danger of electrocution, especially in urban areas.

Arm yourself with these practical tips to ensure a secure journey through the watery labyrinth:

1. Assess the Water Depth

Before attempting to cross, gauge the water’s depth. Use a reliable measuring tool such as a stick or your vehicle’s side mirrors to estimate the water level accurately.

2. Choose the Right Vehicle

Opt for a high-clearance vehicle like an SUV, if available. These vehicles are better equipped to handle flooded roads compared to smaller cars.

3. Turn Around, Don’t Drown

If in doubt, turn around. Never underestimate the power of moving water. It’s always safer to find an alternative route than to risk navigating through uncertain waters.

4. Follow Tire Tracks

If others have successfully crossed the flooded area, follow their tire tracks. This can help you identify potential pitfalls and choose a safer path.

5. Maintain a Slow, Steady Speed

If you decide to proceed, maintain a slow, steady speed to create a bow wave in front of your vehicle. This helps in displacing water and reduces the risk of stalling.

6. Avoid Fast-Flowing Water

Steer clear of areas where water is flowing rapidly. Fast currents increase the risk of losing control and being swept away.

7. Test Brakes After Crossing

Once through the flooded area, gently tap your brakes to ensure they are still functioning properly. Wet brakes may require some time to regain their effectiveness.

8. Keep Engine Running

If your vehicle stalls in the water, keep the engine running. Attempting to restart it while submerged can lead to irreparable damage.

9. Watch for Debris

Floodwaters may carry debris such as branches and rocks. Be vigilant and avoid collisions with unseen obstacles.

10. Be Wary of Hidden Potholes

Flooded roads may hide potholes and road damage. Proceed cautiously to prevent damage to your vehicle

11. Check for Road Closures

Stay informed about road closures and updates from local authorities. Avoid areas marked as dangerous or closed to traffic.

12. Emergency Escape Plan

Always have an emergency escape plan in mind. If the situation worsens, be prepared to abandon your vehicle and seek higher ground.

By adhering to these practical tips, motorists can navigate water-flooded areas with confidence, ensuring a safer and more secure journey through the challenges presented by the rainy season. Stay tuned for more insights on road safety in the face of unpredictable weather conditions.

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