There are only two types of weather conditions in Nigeria; the dry season and the wet/rainy season. The rainy season is the greatest enemy of cars and it lasts between the end of March till the end of October with a 2/3 weeks break in August.
You should have the skills and knowledge required to survive driving in the rainy season. What is worse is that this rain automatically converts some major highways in your state to rivers that real lifeboats can even glide on. Ask your friends that pass through the Lekki area of Lagos, they would tell a better story than me.
I wasn't joking when I said boats move on roads
I know you have heard a lot of myths about driving in flooded roads that the rainy seasons causes. Today, I want to demystify all the myths about driving in flood and tell you all 'Dos and Donts' of driving your car through a flood in Nigeria.
What are the harmful effects of driving your car through floods?
1. Water can get into the engine and damage it, but how?
Yes, water can enter the engine but it is now how people say it. A lot of car engines are properly sealed against water so it is not the exposure of the engine to flood that is the problem. The problem is that a lot of modern cars have their air intake located around the lower part of the car. The air intake is a large channel in the form of a pipe through which air enters the engine.
Can you see the water traces in the engine cylinder
As you drive through a flood, water can get into this air channel and it gets sucked in by the engine and it can cause a lot of problems like hydro locking, dilution of the engine oil and more damages that your car would tell you if it could talk like a human.
2. Loss of traction and steering control, but how?
You can easily lose control while driving your car through floodwater or not but there is a type of unavoidable traction/steering control loss that driving through flood causes. It is called Hydroplaning.
Hydroplaning is when water fills the space between your car tyres and the road for a short time.
The driver lost control for a few seconds
This means your car tyres are no longer in contact with the road and you will feel the steering becoming very light as if your tyres are off the ground.
3. Damage to electrical components, but how?
Modern cars have a lot of circuits backed components these days. The common fog light has an independent circuit in some cars these days and water easily reacts with these components through a chemical process. Just imagine how water damages your phone very quickly when it gets soaked. This is exactly how water affects electrical components of cars exposed to flood from roads.
4. Poor visibility that leads to unseen collisions and obstructions
You can't see what is below a river unless you dive in. This is how your car comes in contact with unseen obstructions and collisions like manholes, ditches, heavy sharp metals, etc as it swims through the flood. This is why many cars fail to proceed while moving through floods. Once your car gets stuck in a flood, it is very difficult to get out when you are unfamiliar with the road.
If there was a large hole on the road, you wouldn't even know
Now, I want to tell you how to survive driving through the flood with your car if you have to do it at all but first note that the ease of flood surfing depends on the type of car.
A standard SUV, for example, is about 9 inches above the ground while a standard sedan is about 4 inches. You have to take more caution when driving a sedan or lower cars like performance/supercars
Here is how to drive your car through flooded roads safely
1. Drive slowly, I know you know this but I mean really slowly
Driving really slow through flooded roads keeps a bow wave of water in front of your car always and water won't easily suck itself up into your car. Also, driving slowly gives you enough time to feel the car hydroplaning or coming in contact with an obstacle.
You shouldn't be driving this fast when there is flood
Here is what to do when you lose control of the car due to a wet or flooded road anywhere; immediately stop accelerating and try to regain control of the car. You know the car is hydroplaning when the steering suddenly feels light.
2. Switch off functions with moving parts
You should always switch off components like the air conditioning system that has a blowing fan in the engine bay. Actually, I think the A/C is the only function with a moving part except you have a special purpose-built vehicle with maybe an extra fan for cooling then you should also switch it off too while driving through the flood.
You switch it off because you don't want the fan to blow water from the flood into electrical components of the car.
3. Follow the trailblazers
Always drive along the same path as cars that have successfully passed through the same flood you want to drive through. Do not try and make your own path on roads you are not familiar with because of underwater kerbs and manholes that will damage your car.
That yellow cab is patiently waiting for the bus to create a path, very smart!
If anyone is honking at you to drive through a flood quickly, do not feel pressured at all. Patience is the only way out of driving through flood except you are driving a car that is 20 inches above the ground.
4. Once you are out of the flood, switch off and park the car
You really had to go through that flood with your expensive and advanced technology car right? then park the car for about 10 minutes while you are out for the following reasons :
- The water that has entered working components need to drip out while there is no power supplied to the car.
- The brake discs need every trace of water out so it can function properly.
- You need to check the engine oil dipstick for traces of water mixing.
What to do when the flood affects your car's engine/component
Once you notice that your car is functioning abnormally after driving through flood roads, immediately kill the engine and call for help with your trusted automobile technician.
Flood repairs take a long time to get completed because water needs to get flushed out from every system of the car and the electrical components that the water has affected need to be detected then replaced.
Imagining buying this BMW as salvage online, very drastic!
Some flood cars get sold as salvage cars and buyers might have no idea. You should be very careful when buying salvaged cars, especially when it is online, and there no chances of physically inspecting the car before making payment.
If you can avoid the flood you are about to get your car into, please do. There are popular areas in Lagos Island that are known for flood and they need to be avoided during rainy season as much as possible. This is the best way to save your car from all the hassles that come from driving through flood water.
By the way, here some lifehacks that will make driving in flood safer for you and your car :
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