Driving on a flooded road
H. Kishie Singh H. Kishie Singh

The accompanying photograph shows a car driving on a water-logged road. The driver is doing everything wrong. Such driving habits make the driver a "road hog," a very derogatory term. The driver lacks sense of decency, road etiquette and manners.

Just because he has a fancy car, he is cocooned in an air-conditioned cabin, he feels he is king of the road. All the more reason for him to be magnanimous and show some concern for other road users. By driving fast in knee-deep water, the car has created a huge bow-wave which has washed over the bonnet to the wind-screen. The bumper, headlights and radiator grill are submerged in water. A car was not designed for this type of treatment. Even if the headlights are sealed units, which they are not these days, water will find its way into the lights and dampen the connections. The driver can look forward to a short-circuit. In a car loaded with electronics and sensors, the repair bill will be substantial.

A motorist drives through a water-logged street in Ludhiana, displaying lack of respect for road users
A motorist drives through a water-logged street in Ludhiana, displaying lack of respect for road users Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

It will be much less than if water entered the air cleaner intake. It would lead to a situation known as hydrostatic lock. Instead of air, water will enter the cylinder. On the upward stroke, the piston compresses the air, water cannot be compressed so it won't allow the piston its full travel. This will put immense pressure on the connecting rod, which is pushing upwards but has no space to go. It will result in a bent connecting rod at the least. At the worst, it may even crack the cylinder block. That will translate into a lot of money. Right behind the radiator gill is the radiator. Behind the radiator is the fan. The fan is designed to suck in air through the grill. In the picture, there is a solid wall of water in front of the grill. Instead of air, the fan is sucking in water and spraying it all over the engine. Manufacturers recommend keeping the engine dry and clean. This driver is doing just the opposite.

Chances are the fan is plastic, designed to move air and not a solid mass of water. Its blades could bend and take slices out of the radiator, which is an expensive fitment. You can avoid the expense by being sensible. Keep the car in low gear, first or second, keep the engine revs high and crawl through a water-logged street. Some roads boast of open manholes. You cannot see them on a flooded road. Falling into an open manhole will damage the tyre, rim, suspension and steering, all in one go. The photograph shows a man on a bicycle. The wall of water being pushed ahead of the car will hit him and destablise the poor fellow. He will go for a toss and be floundering on the road. He will be lucky not to get run over by the car. You have a responsibility to all road users under such adverse conditions. Be a considerate and cautious driver on the road. Happy Motoring!