Driving on flooded roads can be dangerous. Here are some pointers for staying safe and avoiding damage to your car’s engine

There’s one thing we can all be sure of living in Kenya: rain. While a little bit of rain probably won’t dampen your driving, when the heaven’s open and flooding happens, it’s a little bit different.

Driving on flooded roads can be dangerous, and you should avoid getting behind the wheel of your car where possible. However, we’ve all got places to be. If you really can’t postpone your trip, we’ve put together some tips to help keep you safe. These should help you avoid damaging your car and having to claim on your car insurance.

Taking care on trunk roads, motorways and dual carriageways

Trunk roads, more often known as motorways or dual carriageways can be especially dangerous because of flooding. As the speed limit on these roads are often higher, it’s important to take extra care.

You’ll need to reduce your speed, as it’s best to stay below 50mph. Driving at high speed on flood water increases the risk of aquaplaning – where your car’s tyres lose traction and you lose control of the vehicle. You’ll want to pay attention to your speed on any downhill stretches of road too easing off your accelerator to minimise any danger. Finally, you’ll also want to be aware of your stopping distance. In these conditions your stopping distance will be at least double what it normally is. So make sure you give any cars in front of you plenty of room incase you need to brake suddenly.

It’s not uncommon for these larger roads to be closed during floods. So, if you really need to drive somewhere, always check the latest traffic information to see if you’ll need to use an alternative route.

Floods on rural roads may be deeper than you think

Rural roads are often the worst affected by floods. Unlike motorways and dual carriageways, the lack of drainage on country roads can cause serious problems.

As the water has nowhere to go, it’s likely to build up on the road itself. If you’re driving down a rural road during flooding, you’ll need to pay attention to the road ahead of you and especially around corners. Deeper expanses of water should be avoided at all costs as if flood water is above 6 inches deep it could cause damage to your car’s engine. If you’re in any doubt to how deep the water is, avoid it and try to find an alternative route.

Be on the lookout for moving flood water too as this can pose a serious risk to both you and your car. If the current is strong enough, moving flood water can pull your car off the road into deeper water. Again, if in doubt, avoid moving flood water and double back on yourself finding a different route.

Paying attention to other road users and pedestrians on urban roads

The roads in towns and cities will usually have good roadside drainage, which should help prevent flooding. However, during particularly heavy rain, these drains can become overwhelmed, so they’ll flood. As with rural roads and motorways, if the road is flooded, try to find an alternative route.

In built up areas, pay particular attention to other road users and pedestrians. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll be the only one on the road, and visibility can often be reduced during flooding. So keep an eye out and make sure you indicate any turns or manoeuvres well in advance.