Safety tips to help you survive driving through floods

The Philippines is a tropical country where heavy rain showers are just a normal part of life. In Metro Manila, rain coincides with bumper-to-bumper traffic, MRT operation disruption, and flooded streets (not in all areas but most).

In case you find yourself driving in a downpour and the streets suddenly turned into outdoor pools, here’s some safety tips for you to remember before taking the plunge.

Try to avoid flooded roads

No matter what you drive, an SUV or a subcompact hatch, it is wise to avoid passing through flooded roads. The reason for this is that you never know what lies underneath the water surface (open manholes, roadworks, deep potholes, etc.). With this, finding an alternate route is your best option or better yet, stay in a safe place and wait for the flood to subside.

Driving through floods

Gauge the water depth before driving through the flooded area. Whether you’re driving a sedan, van, or SUV, if the water level exceeds the wheel's center cap, DO NOT go for it and turn back or wait it out. Look at sidewalks, posts, or any surrounding structures that will help you gauge the flood’s depth or watch another vehicle goes through.

In case water is low enough, put it in 1st gear (or low gear if it’s an automatic transmission) and maintain a steady speed somewhere around 5 to 10 km/h. Make sure there's enough distance between the vehicle ahead and do not shift gears.

If you stall the engine, do not restart it. Get out of the car and push it to safety if possible.

Dry the brakes after

After going through water, dry the brakes by gently stepping on the pedal while driving slowly. Wet brakes lack stopping power and can get you in trouble.

Check, clean, and change

Have the car checked by a mechanic or service center as soon as possible. If water seeped into the exhaust pipe or the engine, the fluids and some parts may have to be replaced. It would be advisable to have the whole car washed and even the underbody. This could save you from shelling out thousands of pesos for major repairs later on.

Driving through flooded areas requires extra caution and serious consideration. Making the wrong choice could lead to costly vehicle repairs or in a total loss. We hope these safety tips helps you during a downpour.

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