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Driving through a flash flood? Here’s what you need to do

File picture of a car going through flood waters in Temiang. ― Bernama pic
File picture of a car going through flood waters in Temiang. ― Bernama pic

SINGAPORE, Jan 10 — Several motorists had to abandon their vehicles when flash floods affected parts of eastern Singapore on Monday (Jan 8). What should you do if you are stuck in a similar situation? We spoke with several driving experts for their advice.

Avoid flooded areas

First things first: Avoid the affected areas and take an alternative route whenever possible, instead of trying to drive through a flash flood.

“If the rain gets heavier, there can be consequences, it may potentially push the car away, we won’t know,” said private driving instructor Peck Chin Huat, 64, who has been teaching driving for more than 30 years.

Driving through flooded areas

If the flooded roads are unavoidable, drivers should stop and assess the water level before driving through the affected stretch, said Mr Terrence Oh, the chief instructor at the Bukit Batok Driving Centre.

“If it is passable, (drivers should) engage (the) first gear, proceed at low speed and maintain high acceleration to prevent water from (entering) the exhaust,” he added. “This keeps the engine turning faster, which reduces (the driver’s) chance of stalling”.

After driving through a flooded stretch, the vehicle’s brakes may become less effective, Mr Oh warned. Drivers are advised to pump the brakes several times to dry them before resuming their journey.

When to leave a vehicle behind

Passengers and drivers should vacate their cars when the water level reaches the bottom of the vehicles’ doors, said Mr Jonah Phua, 65, a private driving instructor at ComfortDelGro Driving Centre.

Drivers who cannot open the car door during a flash flood should try to escape by breaking the window, added Mr Oh.

Drivers should also call for a tow truck immediately after abandoning their vehicles in a flash flood, the experts said. This is to avoid causing a congestion on the roads when the water recedes. — TODAY

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