When I was a teenager I was driving home with my cousin one time when I came across a flooded street in my own neighborhood. Being only a few blocks from home, I thought I could just power through, because surely the water was not that deep. As my car reached the middle of the street, however, the engines shut off. the knee-high water had flooded the engine, and my car was now a virtual submarine. Fortunately, my cousin and I were able to climb out the sunroof and push the car home, where it could dry out.
That was a sedate suburban street, however, and not all drives through high water end so pleasantly. Smart driving reminds us of the effects at driving in high water:
Driving at speed into water that is more than about 15 centimetres deep can have dramatic effects – it could almost feel like driving into a brick wall with loss of control. This is why it’s especially important to watch your speed on roads where there might be unexpected patches of water (perhaps hidden by a bend or a dip in the road).
There are several keys to remember when you come upon high water:
- Only two feet of moving water can sweep away a vehicle.
- Some cares only need as little as one foot of water to float.
- Flash floods can often come with very little warning.
- Never drive through an area you wouldn’t walk through.
- Even after you drive through high water successfully, your brakes are still wet and can be ineffective.
As always, be sure to think before you act, especially in situations such as these.