It’s never a good idea to drive through standing water on a highway or road. It can seriously damage the underside of your car, where many of the important parts of your car are located and can put you at risk of hydroplaning or spinning out on the water. The latter situation could also endanger the lives of others, depending on how fast you’re going when you hydroplane. However, if you absolutely must drive through a flooded road or find yourself on the road in the middle of a flash flood, here are six integral tips to know.
- Drive in the Center of the Road
The water is often the most shallow in the center of the road. So, regardless of what lane you are in, try to get to the middle of the street so that you can cross the water in the shallowest water possible.
- Communicate With Other Cars and Take Turns for the Best Outcome
If you’re able to do the best option, which is to drive in the center of the road in the shallowest part of the water, you will also need to be able to communicate with other drivers on the road. Each car will need to take turns going through the center to avoid a collision. Don’t be afraid to roll down your window and lead the way by suggesting a back and forth between both sides of traffic.
- Only Cross Water That is Shallow Enough
As a rule of thumb, you should only try to cross water that is about a half-inch or less deep. Any deeper and you are at risk of spinning out or stalling in the middle. You should especially not cross the water if the water reaches halfway up your wheel.
- Drive Slowly
No matter what the conditions are, drive slowly through the flooded road.
- Shift to a Low Gear
If you can shift to a low gear to protect your car. Keep your foot on the gas and use your brake pedal to slow down when needed.
- Dry Off Your Brakes Afterward
After you’ve successfully crossed the water, dry your brakes off by lightly tapping them as you drive slowly away from the body of water or puddle.