​A guide to driving through a flood

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Flooding is always a problem with streets in big cities in Vietnam. With heavy rains hitting Vietnam during the rainy season, here's a handy guide to driving through flood zones.

Just when you thought it’s finally safe to take your trusty metal steed for a drive after months of inactivity, the gods have decided to bless us with an abundance of rainfall.

The sudden downpour has been so torrential that there have been reports of flooding aka “ponding” in various parts of Vietnam.

Since flooded roads are somewhat a rare occurrence for some drivers, we took the liberty to compile this handy guide to help you get your way through the high tides.

Assess the water level before crossing a flooded area

This goes without saying, but the very first thing you should do is assess the water level before attempting to drive through a flooded road.

If you have an SUV or a vehicle that is slightly higher off the ground, you should be able to pass through the floodwater without much difficulty.

For those driving ‘low’ cars, or have lowered your car’s suspension, you should consider finding an alternate route as floodwater could seep through your door sills if it is not fitted correctly.

Not only will this damage your car’s interior, but you might end up with an expensive repair bill if any electronics or engine components get damaged.

Drive slow and steadily

Never speed through a flood. This causes a bow wave which can splash onto other vehicles and pedestrians. Not only is this an inconsiderate move, but it might damage your engine if water somehow manages to get in.

The general rule of thumb is to avoid driving faster than your bow wave. If you see oncoming traffic, it will be in your best interest to allow other cars to pass first. That way your bow wave will not meet theirs.

Never speed as it causes aquaplaning

Aquaplaning occurs when a layer of water builds up between your tyres and the surface of the road. When this happens, you will lose control of the vehicle and find it difficult to brake, steer and accelerate.

If your steering starts to feel ‘lighter’, gently ease the accelerator and hold your steering wheel straight. Never step on the brakes too hard or turn your steering wheel suddenly as it might cause your car to skid.

Once you feel you have gained back control of your vehicle, you can start to brake to lower your speed gently.

Drive in the middle of the road and keep the revs up

Why? That’s because floodwater usually collects in the middle of the road, which happens to be the most shallow.

Do stay in first gear while navigating through a flood and keep revving your engine to prevent water from entering your exhaust pipe.

If water does enter your engine, it will cause your vehicle to stall.

Things you should do after crossing a flooded road

Check your brakes

After driving through a flood, your brakes will be wet and might lose their grip if you brake at high speeds. Always remember to pump your brake pedal a few times after passing through a flood.

Doing so will allow the brake pads to dry itself by coming into contact with the rotors/drums.

Inspect your carpeting and mats

Tiny holes on your car’s undercarriage might cause floodwater to enter your car’s cabin. To check for this problem, make sure you physically inspect your carpet and mats to ensure they are not damp or wet.

If water has seeped through the bottom, make sure you wipe and dry it as soon as possible to avoid that nasty damp smell from happening.

Observe your engine

Does your car engine make a strange sound after passing through a flood? Do you feel a loss of power while driving? If your answer is “yes”, water might have found its way into your engine.

One way to check for this is to inspect your oil dipstick. If water is present, the oil will appear milky, beige, or diluted.

If this occurs, do not drive your vehicle. It would be best to tow it to your preferred workshop instead.