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According to research monsoon rains kill more people than hurricanes, lightning, windstorms or tornadoes. Thirty percent of these deaths are a result of road accidents caused by vehicles losing control on a slippery road or being swept away.

Here are few tips on negotiating flooded roads:

1. Use landmarks such as road signs and markers to ascertain how deep the water is. Don’t cross if the water is running or higher than your headlights since deep water can enter the car’s bonnet and result in the death of your engine.

2. If the rainwater is not too deep to pass, you should shift into the lowest gear and go through the water gently. Keep the engine revving and depress the clutch to help it rev; do not let go of the clutch to ensure that water does not enter the engine. In an automatic car, shift into “L” mode and just apply the throttle to rev.

3. Aim to drive on the crown of the road which is the highest point of the road.

4. Although potholes are hard to locate, you can avoid them by following the car in front. This way you will know in advance if there are any deep potholes.

5. Maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you, since a car takes 14 metres to stop even at 30mph; it takes our brain nine metres to react.

6. Turn on the air-conditioner if the windows start fogging.

7. If you experience a hydro-skid, avoid using the brakes and release the accelerator gradually to slow down and resume steering in the direction you wanted to go originally.

8. If inevitable, only a gentle tapping on the brakes is needed.

— Syed Wajeeh-ul-Hassan Naqvi

First published in the Adbuzzzz Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on July 18, 2010.

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