There has been a lot of media coverage depicting washed out roads and stranded vehicles with Hurricane Irene sweeping through the East Coast over the weekend. We’re sure more than one LR4 owner took advantage of the 27.6-inch maximum wading depth, but driving through flood waters is always a risky proposition. Unfortunately, it is a situation that most of us will have to face at one time or another.
Here are some basic driving tips you can use when encountering flood waters:
Do not drive on flooded streets or roads at all if possible. The water could have washed away the road or the shoulder of the road, creating an extremely dangerous situation. If in doubt, try to find an alternate route.
Roads can flood quickly. A road that is clear one moment may be impassable the next. If there is flooding in the area and you are making a round-trip, don’t count on the road being open on your way back.
Do not ignore barricades, signs, emergency vehicles, or emergency personnel that are blocking roads or directing traffic. Also, if a local resident tells you not to travel a flooded section of road, trust their judgment and find an alternate route or wait out the flood in a safe place.
Avoid driving through water when there is another vehicle coming from the opposite direction. If that driver is going too fast they can swamp your vehicle. Wait for them to clear the flooded section, if possible.
Set your Land Rover to off-road height before entering the water. Every inch of wading depth can help while traversing flood waters. Additionally, off-road height can help you avoid obstacles that have washed into the road (rocks, tree limbs, etc.).
It is difficult to determine how deep flood waters are, even on roads you know well. If other cars or objects are in the water (mailboxes, traffic signs, fire hydrants, etc.), use them to estimate the depth of the water before entering.
Go slowly and steadily when driving through flood waters. You are trying to avoid flooding the engine compartment or causing water to enter the air intake of your Land Rover.
You will experience reduced braking ability until your brakes get a chance to dry out. After you exit the flood waters, you can dry your brakes by lightly pressing on the brake pedal for a few moments while maintaining a slow speed.
If your Land Rover stalls while in the water, restarting it can damage the engine beyond repair. If your vehicle will not start, you should evacuate and head to higher ground if it is safe to do so.
On a final note, the vehicles you see in movies, documentaries, and on YouTube going through water that is hood-deep are specifically prepared for deep water crossings. Despite all of its impressive capabilities, your stock Land Rover will not fare as well as those vehicles should the water get that deep.
Land Rover owners have a decided advantage when it comes to driving through flood waters. Thanks to their off-road heritage, all Land Rover vehicles are designed to handle moderate water depths. Keep in mind that these are maximum depths. These depths can be exceeded by rushing water or even oncoming traffic.
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