Floods and Metro Manila Traffic: 5 Driving Must-Knows
TD Dishes out what Chris Lao Should’ve Been Informed About
With the end of May just a few days away, it seems that the
unbearable heat warmth of summer is just about to fizzle out. Malls have already begun their back-to-school sales, universities such as La Salle have already begun their new trimester, and sudden afternoon downpours have become more frequent. Sure, Metro Manila traffic due to 3-day sales is bad, and yeah, a lot of mornings are about to be ruined when thousands of students start rushing back to school every morning, but absolutely nothing beats the level of helplessness that comes with having to drive through floods.
Taking our cue from the widely-popular Chris Lao incident and from the number of flood-related traffic reports we’ve been getting on TrafficDito.com, we thought now would be a good time to make sure you guys are informed (sorry Chris, we just had to!) with some tips for wading through the upcoming flood season.
Tip No. 1: Water above the door? Wait it out a bit more.
I guess this would be the general rule of thumb for most drivers. If the flood water level is higher than the lowest point of your door, don’t even bother attempting to wade through it. Cars can float (yes, you read that right… FLOAT) in as little as a foot of water apparently. Another gauge of depth would be how high the water level is relative to your car’s wheels. If more than half of your tires are submerged, you’d best stay away.
Aside from the water level, be sure to keep an eye out for incoming traffic. Regardless of flood depth, cars headed in your direction can create waves that could find their way into your car’s engine through air intakes, which you definitely don’t want.
Tip No. 2: Keep your gears on low, but the revs up high.
If you absolutely MUST make it to that hot blind date you’ve been waiting weeks for and you simply can’t imagine letting a little bit of H2O stand in your way, at least be smart about it. Aside from getting swept away, getting water in your car’s engine is probably the worst thing that could happen while driving through floods. Stay in low gear and keep the engine revs high to help keep water out of your exhaust pipes. Try to stay close to the 2000-3000rpm range on first gear or L (1) for cars with automatic transmissions.
Also, DON’T RUSH. Again, driving faster increases the likelihood of creating waves that could enter your car’s engine. As much as you’d like to get in and out as quick as possible, remember the obvious fact that your car wasn’t built to tackle on flood. Go slow and steady. It’s not a (boat) race.
Tip No. 3: Shut off your AC
Picked up this tip from Carsavers.com: “This will make the load of pulling the car through the flood lighter on the engine. Moreover, with the A/C off, the auxiliary fan stays off, reducing the risk of getting floodwater splashed onto the engine compartment and on vital electrical components.”
From Pinoyautoblog.com: “Turn off your air conditioning–both the thermostat and the fan. In the event flood waters reach your aircon system while it’s running, it will be costly to clean and repair.”
Makes sense. Decreasing the number of moving parts you’ve got under the hood means a smaller chance of water splashing around your car’s insides. Put up with the humidity for a bit, it’s not worth trashing your car over.
Tip No. 4: Check your brakes first, it won’t take very long.
After driving through any flooded area, try to find a place to pull over and make sure everything’s in working order, especially your BRAKES. Just because you’re out of the water doesn’t mean that you’re automatically in the clear. Getting your brake pads wet affects its ability to slow your car down. Save yourself the trouble of your car breaking down later on (and the huge expense of a repair job) by spending a few minutes making sure they’re fully operational.
Try cruising at a slower speed (they say around 20kph is safe) and avoid any sudden braking until you’re confident that your brakes are dry and are working properly.
Tip No. 5: Keep an emergency list handy
Of course, if there’s anything we’ve learned about Philippine weather over the years, it’s that we can never really be fully prepared for it. Should anything happen, be sure to have a complete list of towing, repair, and emergency services at hand (The TrafficDito iPhone app has a complete list of such built right into it, by the way!)
Should your car stall while attempting to traverse flooded streets, DO NOT try to re-start it, that’ll only make things worse. It wouldn’t be the right time to play D-I-Y mechanic. Make the necessary calls to have it towed and have an expert give your car a full look-over.
Fingers crossed that we’ll be ready for whatever the rainy season’s got in store for us. With any luck, hopefully this list will be of help to you guys anyway! As always, the key is to make smart decisions on the road and not let frustration get to you.
And just as we’ve shared these with you guys, we hope you guys can help out as well! Be sure to report traffic and floods along Metro Manila thoroughfares using the TrafficDito iPhone app or via Twitter with the #TrafficDito hashtag. Of course, before heading out, checking out TrafficDito.com for any flood-related traffic reports won’t hurt either!
-EJ, Product Marketing Padawan