On June 25 2018, Mumbai witnessed its heaviest 24-hour rainfall in the last decade. While schools and colleges were shut, flights and trains were delayed. But Mumbaikars, being Mumbaikars, refused to be stalled. While some logged in to work from home, the others walked, drove and even carpooled to work.
And while the spirit of the quintessential Mumbaikar is unbreakable even in the heaviest of downpours, it is important to understand that expecting our vehicles to withstand the same pressure in the heavy rains isn’t the brightest idea.
Here are some crucial dos and don’ts you should keep in mind before you decide to venture out with your cars into the uncertain weather:
Do not, we repeat, do not take your car out unless it is absolutely required. Public transport may be a safer option on such days. But if you intend to drive anyway, keep these pointers in mind.
- Do not underestimate puddles or potholes. We avoid walking through mucky water-filled potholes on the road, so why push your vehicle to endure the inconvenience? Try to avoid driving it through these potholes and puddles.
- Because in most cases, water even as deep as six inches has the potential to reach the bottom of most passenger cars. Not only will it make you lose control due to sudden jerks, but could bring your vehicle to a standstill if the water gets into the exhaust or washes into the air intake.
- Water usually fills in the corners of the road, so try driving in the middle of the street since the level there is most shallow. Be considerate to other drivers too. It doesn’t take much to pass through the central lane, one car at a time.
- Do not speed on waterlogged streets. Not only is it severely inconveniencing to the pedestrians who get dirty water splashed on, but is damaging to your vehicle as well.
- Since speeding minimises your power to stop the vehicle on time, it is highly likely that you may run into another vehicle or hurt a pedestrian and yourself. Lower speeds ensure control. So stick to that.
- Always be on the lookout and estimate the depth of water on a waterlogged road. If the water level is rising above your door sills, try not to drive through it. Your exhaust will be fully submerged underwater and enter your engine in the process, severely damaging several components. Not many insurance companies process the claim of any damage caused while driving on waterlogged roads. So the damage may burn a hole in your pocket.
- Keep the throttle gently pressed at all times and maintain a constant speed. Follow the process also while changing gears. Drive in either the first or at most the second gear with higher revs. This will help keep the water which could enter from the exhaust pipe out of the engine.
- If your vehicle stalls in the water, don’t restart the engine. It will go into a hydrostatic lock, causing the engine to seize. Restarting it will cause more water to seep in and cause extensive damage. Don’t open the bonnet when it is stuck, it will only add to your misery. Call for someone to tow your car away from the road, or wait till the water level recedes.
- Once you’ve driven through a waterlogged street, try to dry your brakes. Drive slow and apply brakes to let water out. This is to check if they are still working fine.
Here’s wishing you a pleasant and safe monsoon!
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)