TTPS offers road safety tips for driving through floods
Heavy rainfall has led to riverine and flash flooding across Trinidad and Tobago turning roadways into virtual rivers and seas.There are real and imminent dangers associated with driving through or traversing flood waters and as such, the Traffic and Highway Patrol Branch of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service has issued a road use advisory.
The statement noted that wherever possible, motorists should find an alternative route to avoid the flood. However, if no alternate route exists with no other reasonable option but to drive through flood waters, drivers are asked to follow these suggestions:
1 Do your best to estimate the depth of the water (if other cars are driving through, take note of how deep the water is). Flood waters can also erode roadways partially or in worst cases, there may be no road left under the water.
2 Just 15 cm (6 inches) of standing water – sometimes less – can be enough to cause engine stalling. Your engine can suffer serious and expensive damage if it ingests water via the air intake. And you'll be stranded.
3 In approximately 30 cm (1 foot) of water, a typical car can begin to float; and as traction and steering control are lost, if the water is moving, your vehicle could literally float away.
4 At 60 cm (two feet) of water, even larger vehicles such as pickup trucks and SUVs are in danger of floating away.
5 Watch for floating debris as they can trap your vehicle.
6 Enter the water at 1-3 Km/h and gradually accelerate up to 4-6 Km/h and drive slowly and steadily to create a small bow wave and keep water out of the engine.
7 Stay in first gear or L or 1 in an automatic vehicle and keep the revs up to help keep your exhaust clear and engine running.
8 Be considerate of other drivers - pass through flooded sections one car at a time where possible. Driving through water at speeds above a slow crawl can create a splash that inhibits the visibility of other drivers.
9 Stay towards the middle of the road (this may often be the shallowest part of the roadway).
10 When you emerge from the water, whilst driving slowly dry your brakes by using them gently.
1 Don’t drive through water with downed electrical or power lines.
2 If your vehicle stalls in deep water, don’t attempt to restart as this may lead to irreparable damage to the engine.
3 Large vehicles should refrain from driving at high speeds through water against approaching vehicles as this may lead to huge waves that can bury smaller vehicles.
4 Drivers of large trucks should be careful that the battery compartments are often lower than the engine leaving them vulnerable to shorting in flood waters.
If you should become stranded or your vehicle stalls:
In spite of your best efforts, conditions can change quickly and you may find yourself stranded. There is never one best course of action to cover every circumstance so analyse the situation and make the best choice you can. Here are some things to consider:
1 It's important to keep the situation from getting worse, so turn on your hazard warning lights to make sure other drivers can see you.
2 If you can safely make it to higher ground on foot, leave the vehicle and do so. Be cautious of other traffic around you.
3 If it seems unsafe to leave the vehicle, stay with your vehicle. If the water level becomes too high inside, you may want to climb through your windows onto the roof and use your cell phone to call for help or try to signal others for assistance.
4 It is important to note that regardless of the circumstance, keep calm and think through the best course of action and its consequences.
5 Never dive or jump into flood waters as it may be hiding sharp debris or large stones.
The best advice of all, however, is simple:
DO NOT DRIVE IN FLOODED ROAD CONDITIONS IF AT ALL POSSIBLE.