It’s monsoon season in Malaysia, again. Many of us are worried during this season, as there will be flood, traffic congestion, getting wet, and well… being late. Like it or not, there’s no way of avoiding the rain. So, here are some precautionary steps you may take to help you to get on with your daily routine, and prepare you on how to react with you’re driving in heavy rain or flood and get caught hydroplaning or crossing huge bodies of water.
Image by Astro
What To Do If You’re Caught In A Flood?
We will be able to ‘tell’ which are the few areas that is prone to flooding. However, if you are caught in a flood, here are some guidelines on what you can do, and what you cannot do.
- If it’s necessary to drive through a pool of water, drive on the highest part of the road.
- Go slow, as speeding will caused the wave to rise up and enter the exhaust pipe or engine.
- Do not follow the vehicle in front of you too closely, and go with one vehicle at a time flow.
- Use 1st gear for manual vehicle and L/1/L1 for an automatic vehicle, and do not take your foot off from the accelerator. This will reduce the chances of water from entering the exhaust pipe.
Once you are clear of water, step on the brakes lightly as to ‘dry’ them. However, it’s advisable for you to check your vehicle on:
- Cracks, scratches, bumps or anything that is hanging off, and check beneath your vehicle for any debris or mud. Wash it off immediately to avoid damage to the undercarriage.
- The interior for damage(s) – lookout for damp areas. If there are, send your vehicle to a professional workshop soonest possible so it can be checked, cleaned and dried.
- Use the dipstick to check on the engine oil, and transmission fluid if it’s diluted, milky or changed in colour. This shows that water has gotten in and do not start your vehicle at this point, which may cause further damage to the internal components.
- Get a proper workshop to check on the brake system, air filter if it’s damp, and change the oil.
- Listen to your vehicle’s engine for any funny noises. If there are any, send it to the workshop immediately.
- Replace your vehicle’s lights and indicator if there are any rust and/or water damages.
In case your vehicle is caught in the flood, please remain calm and:
- Never attempt to start your vehicle if it’s submerged in water. Water may seep in and damage your vehicle beyond control.
- Turn on the headlights and hazard light so emergency personnel can spot your vehicle.
- Unbuckle your seat belt and unlock all doors.
- Lower your window and climb out, call/ask for help – most automated windows still work unless your vehicle is totally submerged.
- Don’t try to save your belongings if you are facing an evacuation during a flood.
- Don’t stand on the roof of your vehicle or stay near it, get to higher ground.
Hydroplaning / Aquaplaning
Image by S.HS
Hydoplaning/aquaplaning occurs when rain water is mixed with oil residue on the road. When this happens, the tires ‘surf’ on pooled water and losing contact with the road, resulting in a loss of traction between tires and road. This creates a slippery condition causing vehicles to hydroplane.
What To Do When You’re Hydroplaning
It’s a condition that many drivers are not prepared for. But what should you do if your vehicle hydroplane? Here are some steps to help you:
- When this happens, your steering will appear to be very light.
- Shift to a lower gear so the vehicle may slow down.
- Slowly release the accelerator so your vehicle may slows down, and the tires regain traction with the road.
- NEVER step on the brakes and avoid swerving as this will cause your vehicle to complete lose control and spin!
- Once your car comes to a complete stop, keep driving on cautiously or get out of the area. Do not stop your car and have a look, as is it very likely other cars can hydroplane as well in the same area and this can cause multiple accidents!
Image by Giphy
It’s good to monitor your vehicle’s conditions especially before you travel. Do take note on these:
- Make sure your vehicle’s tires are properly inflated, and rotate or replace it when is needed.
- Slow down when the roads are wet, stay away from puddles or scattered water.
- Avoid driving on the outer lanes where water tends to accumulate.