Cars aren’t designed to travel through water of any great depth, although people have been known to try it from time to time. Sometimes with tragic results.

 

As we’ve seen in recent times, flooding can be anything from a major river breaking its banks to a blocked drain that has flooded a local intersection.

 

These situations are not likely to be something that most drivers would deal with on a daily basis, so when we encounter them it can cause some problems.

 

Charging into water of any depth is potentially very dangerous so it should be avoided. Driving through roadside puddles may seem like fun but as the front wheel hits the water it can slow the down quite quickly, almost like applying the brake to that wheel only. This can make the car swerve and could easily spear you off the road.

 

The problem with any puddle of water is that you just don’t know how deep it is until you’ve driven through it. The puddle can also be hiding a very large pot hole that can damage the wheel or tyre if you drive into it. So avoid standing water and if you have drive through it be sure to drop your speed.

 

Flooding can obviously occur in low laying areas. But even the best of roads can experience flooding so again the tip is to be very cautious in any wet condition.

 

If you arrive to find the whole road is covered with water, just take a moment to assess the situation before you decide to take the water on. The main thing to consider is the depth of the water and the speed it's flowing.

 

Assess the situation carefully and if it looks like it could be higher than half way up your wheels, it’s time to turn around and find another way.

 

The reason is that cars can start to float slightly once you start getting above that height. This is how cars get washed away because if the car stops and there is any kind of current you can find yourself floating down stream.

 

Should you feel that the depth is ok and you decide to drive through you’ll need to keep a couple of things in mind.

 

As you drive through do so at a steadily pace in low gear and keep the revs up slightly. Stay as near to the centre of the road because the water will not be as deep there as it will be nearer the kerb. Once you’ve made it safely across give your brakes a good test before you start driving at any sort of speed.

 

Again it needs to be stressed that you really need to be very careful about crossing water. If you aren’t confident about doing it then forget it.

 

Try finding another way around if possible. The last thing you need is to drown the engine or the electrics and find yourself marooned or worse.

 

Drive Safely - Russell White Driversafety.com.au