Flooded roads are a common sight for road users in Nigeria during the rainy season. This, however, doesn’t mean that you take them for granted because doing so is a clear recipe for regrets as we highlighted on our Auto Doctor Show last week.
As a car owner or driver, it’s really up to you to pick from these two options – You either take safety precautions when driving on flooded roads and keep your car safe. Alternatively, you can be reckless and increase the risk of getting your car broken down in the middle of a flooded road. The choice is yours to make!
If you prefer getting your car through flooded roads safely, this piece has been put together to help you get through the dangers that come with driving during the rainy season in Nigeria.
Avoid Standing Water
Standing water refers to any body of stagnant water, including puddles, ponds, rainwater, drain water, reservoirs and the list goes on. When driving, you should avoid standing water if you can.
According to Anthony Ochuaka, City Lead, Technical Operations, Autochek, a lot of people have a tendency to drive into flood water or standing water because they often think it’s shallow.
“A lot of people tend to believe that they will make it to the other side of the road. That’s such a dangerous thing to do. They don’t even know what’s under the water and this is where the problem begins for such road users.”
Slow Down on Flooded Roads
When driving through a flooded road, you need to make a conscious attempt to drive slowly. This helps you avoid flooding your engine. It doesn’t matter if you are familiar with the road or not.
If you have to drive through a flooded road, you need to ensure that you enter the water at 1-3 km/h 3–6 km/h.
Driving fast on a flooded road is dangerous. Your tyres could lose contact with the road and this could cause you to lose control of the car’s steering. This is called ‘aquaplaning’ and it’s dangerous.
Consider Turning Around
If you find yourself alone on a flooded road that you are not familiar with, don’t try to drive through it. The only exception to this is if you can see other drivers drive through the flooded section of the road successfully.
Wrecking your car’s engine on a flooded road due to impatience isn’t something you will be proud of. This is why turning around and finding an alternative route is something you should consider.
You don’t want to be that driver who splashes water on pedestrians and other road users. Most pedestrians have already had their baths in the morning and certainly do not need to have rainwater splashed on them while you’re speeding through a flooded road.
Strive to drive slowly and steadily on flooded roads. That way, your car won’t be splashing water on pedestrians and other road users.
Dry Your Brakes
Once you emerge from the water, you should dry your brakes by using them gently on a safe part of the road. If the flooded section of the road happens to have mud or sand in it, it’s advisable to park your car and pop your bonnet to check the radiator to be sure that there are no blockages. Such blockages could cause your engine to overheat.