You work in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur and park your car at a basement carpark. You are in the midst of having a discussion with your colleagues before you hear a loud thump from the skies. Thunder and lightning become more apparent and louder and more frequent.
Or perhaps you are driving through the traffic on the road, and unknowingly, you find yourself caught in the car during heavy rain. You hear stories flash floods in Penang and Kuala Lumpur in the past, and now you get really really nervous! You think to yourself, oh no, is my car surviving at the basement carpark?? Am I going to survive?? What should you do if your car is trapped in a flash flood? Well here are some car-saving and life-saving tips if the unfortunate does happen.
What should you do if your car is trapped in a flash flood?
There is a new InfoBanjir website designed to give relevant flood information to the general public is available at http://publicinfobanjir.water.gov.my/. Do update yourself often in the event of a flash flood to know what reasonable actions to take!
What should you do if your car is trapped in a flash flood and your car is in the basement carpark?
If the basement carpark is experiencing rising water and fast, you wouldn’t want to be in such messy situation. Focus on getting out to level ground and safety first.
- Stay calm.
You’d need your wits with you. Your car is precious, but your life is more so act with wisdom.
- Do not, I repeat, do not try to start your car
Your first instinct may be to run down to your car, and assess the damage by starting your car to test if it is still working. No no no! Do avoid this as starting the car could wreak havoc on the engine. The damage caused could be beyond repair.
- Determine how high the water has reached
If you left your car parked in the basement and come back and find it it partially submerged, determine the level the water reached by looking for a waterline on the interior or exterior of the car. If water breached only the lower door sill, it may be still safe to start the car and drive off.
- Do not stay in a flooded car.
If your vehicle is surrounded by floodwater, abandon vehicle and move immediately to higher ground. If it is almost submerged, then it is better to get yourself in a safer position rather than insisting on driving in an almost submarine. Remember, safety first! These are things you should do if your car is trapped in a flash flood.
What should you do if your car is trapped in a flash flood and you’re getting caught in a massive rainfall on the road?
Driving in wet conditions can be tricky, worse still dangerous, even if there’s just a few millimetres of standing water on the road, even if you’re already a pro driver. During a heavy downpour, visibility can be extremely limited, and puddles and surface water can easily cause aquaplaning, whereby your car loses traction and steering response. More so when there are occurence of potholes in Malaysian roads!
- Use your headlights!
This is not the time to save batteries. Heavy rain will likely mean that visibility is compromised, so you should switch on your headlights when you can’t see the car in front of you too well.
- Double the distance between yourself and the car in that front
When it is pouring down and there is standing water on the road, stopping distances are almost doubled, so always be safe to leave twice the distance between your and the car in front.
- Don’t speed through standing water and puddles
This is often the true Malaysian disease. If there is surface water on the road, there will likely be a lot of spray around that can affect fellow road users and pedestrians. If possible, avoid massive puddles, and don’t speed through standing water as this will throw up water which will soak pedestrians and cyclists.
- Use a low gear to increase the engine revs
When driving through a flood at low speed, water can easily get inside the exhaust, causing damage to the catalytic converter. To avoid this, stay in a low gear so the engine revs are higher.
- Only attempt to drive through water if you know it isn’t that deep
This is particularly important if you’re on an unfamiliar road, when your lack of local knowledge could mean you’re driving into deeper and more dangerous water. These are things you should do if your car is trapped in a flash flood whilst you’re driving on the road.
Car is trapped in the flash flood no more – what should you do once you are out of the water?
- Test your brakes straight away after driving out of a flood
Excess water on the brakes can lead to a complete lack of stopping power, so you should always check the brakes after driving through a flood. Do this gently over a reasonably long distance.
- Dry out your car’s interior
Open the doors and air out your interior. Muddy water can leave a foul stench that can stick to the interior for months, so you may want to remove the carpet and seats and have them cleaned at the local car wash.
- Check your insurance cover
Check your insurance policy to see if flood is covered, and you may claim damages from your respective insurance companies. News flash – Standard car insurance policies usually cover collision, theft and total loss, but they do not cover floods! It is usually a extra peril you’d need to actively purchase with an agent or through an online portal. Get your car adequately protected to avoid regrets of not being able to claim when your car is trapped in the flash flood.
There you have it! These are the things you should do if your car is trapped in a flash flood. Now that you know that the normal car insurance do not cover for floods, it is extremely important to pay a little to ensure your car is protected if the inevitable happens. PolicyStreet has recently partnered with AXA to launch their motor insurance. It is arguably one of the most affordable car insurance out there right now, and we hear that there is a special limited perils cover (which also includes flood cover) you cannot get from any other insurance companies! Uniquely AXA!