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Kerala Floods 2018: God's Own Country has never before seen a calamity of this extent, in at least 90 years. The state has received 257% excess rainfall this time of the year and 13 of the total 14 districts are on red alert. Flooding, landslides and strong winds have affected most parts of the state and the entire nation is praying for its well-being.
Many roads are submerged under almost one metre of water and traffic is on a standstill. If you are living in or around Kerala and have to urgently cross a flooded area in your vehicle, keep these things in mind!
Don't Drive Fast Through A Water Puddle
Though the act of driving fast through a puddle of water and splashing it all around seems fun, it can often harm your engine. There are chances (very high during extremely wet conditions such as flooding) for the water to get into the intake of the engine. There's no need to mention the outcome of that. The risk is even more for turbocharged vehicles (mostly all diesels) which suck in more air.
You should also drive slowly through the water. The vehicle should be on a lower gear but at a higher RPM. High-revving engines will obviously produce more exhaust pressure and will help avoid water from getting into the exhaust system to a good extent.
Keep A Safe Distance From The Vehicle In Front
While moving through water, vehicles produce waves of water towards the back, just like how boats or ships do. If another vehicle follows close behind, there are chances for the wave to get into the air intake. Chances for this to happen are particularly high if the vehicle moving in front is a truck or bus and the one following is a small car.
Hence, keep a safe distance between each vehicle while moving through flood-affected areas.
Don't Follow The Same Driving Pattern As The Vehicle In Front
Based on size, engine, tyres and overall dimensions, the capability of a vehicle varies. Just because the vehicle moving ahead managed to go through the water, do not try to push your car beyond its limits. SUVs, trucks and buses would generally be able to move through medium levels of water, but not small cars or sedans.
Do not try to test how much your vehicle can take or act like an expert driver in such road conditions. But it is always better to drive on the higher central portion of the road rather than the low-lying sides.
No Sudden Brakes
If your vehicle contacts some undulation while moving through a water body, DO NOT apply the brakes all of a sudden. You should keep the engine RPM a bit raised while slowing down; the reason being the chances of water getting into the exhaust system, as mentioned earlier.
If water levels are really high, it can actually seep into the engine through the exhaust system.
Check Your Brakes After Passing Through The Flood
Flood water carries a lot of debris and dirt. This could get trapped in between various parts underneath a vehicle, including the braking system. Although a brake calliper has only a small clearance in between its components, the presence of foreign materials could affect the braking efficiency.
Flooded roads offer almost zero visibility of the tarmac and its undulations. High levels of water will erode the ground in a short span of time and could trap the wheels of a vehicle. If the vehicle is a two-wheeler, you might fall into the water and invite the worst. Just avoid travelling on a two-wheeler through the water, even if you are riding a premium adventure tourer.
Thoughts On The Floods In Kerala
Kerala is currently witnessing an intense form of a water calamity; the highest recorded in the past 94 years. The flooding has claimed many lives and a lot of people have lost their homes. Most of the roads are either flooded or diverted and it is highly recommended not to travel in the flood-affected areas. The concerned officials are doing the best they can and many are being rescued and given hope even at this moment.
But still, a lot of people are waiting for help and Kerala is looking forward to getting as much support as possible. If you can lend a helping hand or wish to know more information such as the needs of the affected, relief camp locations or important phone numbers, check out this link – https://keralarescue.in/
Any contribution would help!