How to survive driving through a flood

Written by Cheryl Tay on . Posted in Cheryl Tay Blog | Blog Post of Cheryl Tay

Floods have become the driver’s newest nightmare in this region as tropical rains mercilessly descend on our roads and cause all kinds of damage.


Lately, a string of flash floods have plagued the roads of Singapore so be careful when you are heading out under an overcast sky. If possible, leave the car at home and use public transport instead of driving out in times of heavy rain.


To be safe, tune into local radio stations, TV channels or online platforms to check for any breaking news reports about flooded areas.


There are some areas in Singapore that are prone to flooding, such as Bukit Timah, Upper Thomson, Telok Kurau and Orchard Road, so if it is raining and your journey includes those areas, you just might want to re-route.


Should you already be out and it starts to rain, it is advisable to leave your car parked and come back for it after the rain has cleared. Of course, do make sure that your car is parked on higher grounds and not in a basement car park susceptible to flooding.


The dangerous thing about floods is how you are never sure of how deep it is and you run the risk of getting your car swept away if the water level is high enough. A mere six inches of water from the ground is enough to reach the bottom of your car and cause you to lose control or even stall the car. Also, it just takes a foot of water (about 30cm) to send your car floating and any more water can sweep your vehicle away.


Here are some tips to help you deal with a flood situation:


1. If you are able to avoid driving through a flood, quickly back up and take an alternative route.


2. If your car is surrounded by floodwater, abandon the car quickly and move immediately to higher ground.


3. If the only way out is to drive through the flood, then drive slowly (about 20km/h) at a constant speed through the standing water and keep the engine revving, as water could get into the exhaust or into your air intake. Shift into the lowest gear for manual cars.


4. If water does get into your engine, do not try to restart your car.


5. Do not panic and think that driving fast through the standing water would get you out of there quick. Driving fast in a flood could cause your tyres to lose contact with the ground and send your car into a situation called aquaplaning.


6. If you do experience aquaplaning, hold the steering wheel lightly and lift off the accelerator until the tyres regain grip.


7. Do not drive through flooded roads against opposite traffic. If you have to, wait for approaching cars to clear before you start to drive through.


8. After successfully driving through the flood, test your brakes thoroughly — first by pressing slowly on the brake pedal until you are sure it is working, then keep your hand firm on the steering wheel as you step on the brake repeatedly a few more times to dry them.


First published here:

Cheryl Tay

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Singapore’s only female full-time motoring and motorsports photojournalist. Independent automotive consultant and prominent local motorsports personality Cheryl Tay is uniquely passionate about all things cars and motorsports. She also has a strong passion to share her interest and knowledge, hence having a dream to become the ‘Oprah Winfrey of cars and motorsports’ and create a multimedia platform for her sharing. - A female in a male-dominated world, Cheryl Tay is Singapore’s only female full-time motoring journalist and motorsports blogger and she regularly writes for prominent titles in Singapore, Asia and internationally. (See full list of titles that Cheryl Tay writes for here.)

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