What you should do when your car stalls on flooded road

Motorists driving on flooded section of Waiyaki Way, Nairobi on March 23, 2023. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

The rains are pounding heavily in different parts of the country, and motorists are bearing the brunt.

Pictures and videos released on Saturday, March 25 showed a section of the Narok-Mai Mahiu Road at Suswa completely flooded.

Motorists could not move to either side, and had to remain rooted on the fairly safe sections of the road as water flowed aggressively across the impassable section of the highway.

Mombasa Road in Nairobi County is another major highway that has experienced heavy flooding.

Pictures of stalled vehicles on busy Nairobi roads, including Waiyaki Way, went viral earlier this week.

Floods are aggressive, powerful and sometimes cruel to defiant motorists, who attempt to drive through deluged roads.

In case your car stalls on a flooded road, what should you do?

Safety first

The most important thing to save, is your life and those of the people you are carrying.

After the vehicle stalls, unbuckle your safety belt and disembark from the car. If you have to push the vehicle to a safer ground, ensure that the water currents are manageable.

If the water level is high, it is advisable that you roll down the window and get out of the car as quickly as possible.

Check out for danger

Fast-moving water, loose power cables and flooded gullies are some of the elements that could pose danger to your life. When disembarking from the vehicle, ensure that the surrounding would allow you to safely evacuate the scene.

Turn off the engine

Turning off the engine helps to prevent possible damage to the car should water mix with oil, fuel or other important fluids. There are also other key parts of the car that get damaged when they come in contact with water. They include sensors, the engine control unit, power cables and pistons.

Also, don't attempt to ignite the car after switching the engine off.

Move to higher ground

After disembarking from the car, it is advisable that you move to a higher ground as you wait for help. This enables you to save your life by preventing other possible accidents.

Alert your insurance company

With changing trends over the years, insurance firms have been offering cover for acts of God such as floods. The moment your car stalls on a flooded road, and you are insured against the vagaries of floods, it is highly advisable that you take pictures of the scene and alert your insurance company immediately.

Get the car towed

Without igniting the engine, have your vehicle towed to the garage, where mechanics will examine it for damage and possible repair needs.

Check oil

Water should never mix with oil used in a vehicle. Water is considered a contaminant to your engine oil and will affect its performance. Once contaminated, the oil won't be able to lubricate moving parts of the engine efficiently. This could lead to serious problems, such as broken piston rings, damaged combustion chamber and cylinder head valves.

To confirm whether water had already mixed with your oil, check the presence of water droplets on the oil dipstick. If there are signs of water on the stick, it is advisable you drain the oil and fill up with new replacement.

Besides checking on key components and fluids, it is also necessary for you to monitor whether water found its way into the interior of the car. It is advisable that you suck the water out of the floor and seats using a dry towel.

Unremoved water in the car can cause musty odour and the growth of mould. You may want to leave your car open, including the trunk, for it to ventilate - and that is only if the weather allows.

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