Mumbai rains: Save yourself from getting locked inside your car when stuck on a flooded road

As heavy rains overwhelmed Mumbai on Tuesday, fear of car drivers getting locked-in inside their vehicles prompted Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to advise people to abandon cars if possible when faced with such a rising water level.

His concern was reiterated by the Mumbai Police through its Twitter handle:

Representational image. Image courtesy: Firstpost/Anirudh Regidi

Representational image. Image courtesy: Firstpost/Anirudh Regidi

During the 2005 Mumbai deluge, several instances of people locked-in inside their cars due to water pressure from outside were reported.

According to car experts, despite significant technological improvements, the electrical system and engine of modern cars remain susceptible to water damage.

The pressure of water around a submerged car may not allow car doors to open. And if your car has electric windows (and not the traditional lever windows) a short circuit may prevent the electric windows as well as the doors from opening, and you may remain stuck inside the car, wrote The Indian Express.

Keeping that in mind, it may come handy to be aware of what to do and what not while using cars during a deluge.

The best advice is to avoid cars if the forecast says a heavy rainfall followed with flooding. However, if you must travel than follow these instructions:

  • Estimate the depth of the water by taking note of other cars on the road.
  • Turn on your headlights and hazard lights which will make it easier for emergency personnel to see you.
  • Don’t rush but crawl through the water in first gear. Keep the engine revving up to avoid water entering the exhaust pipe. Also avoid the temptation to make a quick exit, as going at speed can push water into the engine.
  • If you have driven through water up to the wheel rims or higher, test your brakes on a clear patch of road at low speed.
  • If they are wet and not stopping the vehicle as they should, dry them by pressing gently on the brake pedal with your left foot while maintaining speed with your right foot.
  • Lower your window. Most electric windows should work unless the car is completely submerged in water.
  • If your vehicle stalls in deep water, you may need to restart the engine to make it to safety.
  • If you can't restart your vehicle and you become trapped in rising water, immediately abandon it. Try to open the door or roll down the window to get out of the vehicle.
  • Keep an emergency hammer inside your glove box so that you can break open a window and escape from the car in case the windows get jammed.
  • If you don’t have these instruments, try to escape by breaking the windshield, rather than trying to break the side windows.

Updated Date: Aug 29, 2017 21:25 PM

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