Flooded streets: to drive or not to drive - Weekend

Flooded streets: to drive or not to drive

Jerome NeriAtty. Jerome G. Neri
The Scrutineer

IT seems to me like every day is flood day. Every time there is a 10 minute downpour, there are roads that get flooded. Thank you DPWH for filling our roads with culverts that go to rivers that are getting narrower and shallower every day. These rivers are over capacitated and instead of ruining our roads effort should be made to rehabilitating these rivers that flow to the sea, as the rivers are the main drainage of Cebu.

I remember that some time ago, the BOPK block of the Cebu City Council rejected a proposal by Mayor Michael Rama, which would pave the way for dredging our rivers that drain to the sea. Thank you so much for the floods, BOPK councilors, may your houses be infested with overflowing canal water.

SLOW DOWN. A resident carries a sign along a flooded street after a heavy downpour in Quezon City in Metro Manila. At the onset of the rainy season in the country, flooded streets in urban areas all over the country, including Metro Cebu, become a headache for motorists, no thanks to local government units and national agencies that contribute more to the problem than come up with solutions. (AP FOTO)
SLOW DOWN. A resident carries a sign along a flooded street after a heavy downpour in Quezon City in Metro Manila. At the onset of the rainy season in the country, flooded streets in urban areas all over the country, including Metro Cebu, become a headache for motorists, no thanks to local government units and national agencies that contribute more to the problem than come up with solutions. (AP FOTO)

Since we’ll be having floods in the next few months, here are some important things to remember:

With the state of our road drainage today, floods can come rapidly and unexpectedly, therefore, if rain is forecast or you can see dark clouds and heavy rain is inevitable, know and avoid flood prone roads.

Repairing a flood submerged car costs a lot of money.

Not driving through flood it is the only 100 percent guarantee that your car will not be ruined. But if you have to, make sure you have an idea of how deep the flood is. If the water can cover more than half of your tires, I would recommend not to drive through the flood. Some SUVs being sold today brag of very high wading depth of over 500mm. While it is true that these SUVs can go through very deep water even to the level of the hood, the problem will be that water will still go into your car interior and this is dirty, filthy, smelly water.

Even when going through shallow flood waters, say, from six inches to a foot of water, a visit to the shop would be recommended. Most cars today have electronic sensors on each wheel and can get dirty or damaged by floodwaters. Axles and drive-shafts can get contaminated with water, even the transmission and clutch. Contamination may not ruin your car immediately, but in the long run it may. Thus, a check up after running a car through a flood is prudent.

When negotiating through floodwaters, it is best to stay in the middle of the road as it should be the shallowest part. If you have an automatic car put it in L (low). If it is a manual or tiptronic, keep it in first gear. Drive slow with just light throttle enough for the car to move because if you drive too fast the car can float and you can lose control. For manual transmission cars, it may be helpful if you keep the revs up and just slip the clutch to control the speed in order to avoid stalling the engine.

In the event that you stall the engine while negotiating a flood, do not attempt to restart the engine. It is possible that water entered your engine through the intake thereby causing a hydraulic lock. If the hydraulic lock did not cause severe damage to your engine, an attempt to restart it will cause severe damage. Therefore, if you have no clue as to why your engine stalled in the flood, call a tow truck and have your car sent to a repair shop. In the meantime, disconnect the batteries in order to avoid any short circuits on the numerous electronic sensors in the car.

Lastly, during heavy rain I see a lot of people turning on their hazard lights. Please do not do this as all it does is confuse other motorists. The purpose of these hazard lights is to warn other motorists that your vehicle has stalled and is not moving. To be more visible to other motorists, just simply turn on your lights — this way other motorists can distinguish stalled vehicles from moving vehicles especially during poor visibility.

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