Flash floods present a real and very serious danger to us motorists – especially in a country such as ours in which storm drains no longer work properly due to years of deferred maintenance. With more storms forecast across the country over the next few days we thought it only fitting to provide you with these handy tips to help keep you afloat in the event of a sudden flood.
1: Obey authorities and emergency personnel who tell you to avoid driving on a specific road. If a road has been closed, obey the closure, and drive the alternative route.
2: Do not try and cross a body of water, even if you think you can make it, as the water may be deeper than you think, and the road may have eroded since you last used it.
3: If there is a risk you will be caught in a flood, pull off the road and look for higher ground.
4: If you do pull off, make sure you leave enough space for emergency vehicles to pass you.
5: If you have no alternative but to drive through a body of water, drive as slow as possible in first gear with both hands on the steering wheel. This will give your car the necessary traction to move forward. Driving fast may result in aquaplaning.
6: Ensure you are as visible as possible. Switch on your headlights.
7: If your car is being surrounded by water, unfasten your seatbelt (and those of any children with you), unlock your doors, and open your windows. If water starts entering through the windows, get out of the vehicle and wade to the nearest point of safer higher ground. Remember, you are more important than your car.
8: If your car is suddenly submerged and your windows aren’t already open, try and break a window and swim to the nearest point of safety.
9: If you are caught in a flood, be patient and remain calm. The emergency services will get you but there may be delays as they have to negotiate the same hazards.
10: Be especially cautious at night, or when visibility is low, as it may be harder to see floods ahead.
11: Do not drive through water higher than 20cm as this may cause mechanical and electrical damage to your car. – Thomas Falkiner & AASA (Pic: Facebook/Emer-G-Med)