Although flash floods are rare, when they occur, they can wreak havoc. The Automobile Association (AA) says floods can occur quickly, and can be extreme dangerous.
The AA urges all motorists caught up in floods to follow some basic rules to negotiate the safest route out of these situations. It says the most important factor in dealing with floods is to avoid them in the first place.
The South African Weather Service (SAWS) has issued severe weather alerts, along with flood warnings, for certain areas of the country for the next few days.
“On days when the weather is heavy, motorists should listen to local radio traffic reports, monitor social media, and check online websites for advisories and cautions. If roads on your normal route are flooded, avoid them and seek alternatives, even if it means you will take a lot longer to get to your destination,” advises the AA.
But, the AA says, if you meet a flood anyway, some important rules need to be followed. Firstly, if possible, turn around and drive away from the flooded area. If this isn’t possible, try and gauge the depth of the water ahead by watching other vehicles negotiate a specific stretch of water. Do not attempt to go through this if it is deeper than 20 centimetres as the water may damage mechanical and electronic components of your vehicle.
Some other tips to negotiate flooded roads include:
If you do make it through the water, check your car for any damage, and feather the brakes to dry them. Have an expert examine your vehicle afterwards for any damage that be longer lasting.
If your car has been partially or completely submerged, and you have stopped in a body of water, don’t try and start it unless you have had a technician look at it as this may result in damage to the engine.
“Finally, it is important to remain as calm as possible in these situations and assess the best way out. If this means leaving your car, do that rather than attempt to get your car through when it clearly won’t make it as you may be endangering your life and those of any passengers with you,” the AA concludes.