Just when we thought the rainy season has passed, we’re plagued by non-stop storms once again. While it has not turn apocalyptic (let’s hope there is no “yet” in this context) Malaysia is still known for sudden flash floods and they’re never pleasant to drive in.
At times like these, do not drive through flooded roads! But if you are confident that the water level is low enough, here are some tips to deal with flooded roads.
First things first, stop and observe if others can drive through it. Then gauge if the water level is deeper than the centre of your vehicle’s wheels or higher than the curb.
You can also use the centre divider as a visual indicator to estimate how high is the water level. If you are confident that the water level is low enough, proceed with caution.
Enter the water at low speeds, as slow as walking pace, about 3 km/h before your car's wheels hit the water, before increasing to about 6 km/h when in the water. This will create a bow wave in front of the vehicle so there is a depression in water level around the engine bay, thus reducing the chance of water entering the engine's intakes.
Before you enter the water, though, make sure to turn off your air-conditioning. This is because there is a possibility of the electric fan in the A/C kicking up water into the engine's air intakes. There's also the risk of the A/C fan being damaged when it gets caught in debris.
Proceed one vehicle at a time, just in case the vehicle in front of you does stall and you find yourself stopping as well. This is dangerous as the depression in the water that you created when you first entered the water would flow back towards your vehicle and enter the engine.
When driving through the flood, also take note of vehicles coming in the other direction as this will cause the water's flow to change direction and flooding your car's engine bay.
Once you’re out of the water, apply the brakes gently to dry them. When brakes are wet, braking performance will be compromised.
Remember that flooded roads might have other hidden dangers like a huge pothole or a washed out manhole/drainage cover so be mindful of this as well.