Coastweek -- I
continue with matters flooding,
writes TETI KAMUGUNDA.
when faced with flooding there is almost always choices
It is not often
that one wakes up to find that their vehicle is sitting in a
pool of water that was not there the night before.
Rare but happens.
More often the
motorist comes face to face with flooding as they are driving
become available many.
The first is that
one can take the flooding head on and cautiously continue to
cross the water.
If it is a
stationary pool of water, the risks one has to consider are
simple – depth of water and submerged hazards.
The daring drivers
will put their vehicles into the stagnant pool of water and hope
that they can get across.
surrounding terrain will indicate what the approximate depth of
water could be.
However, one runs
the risk that there could be a drain or similar depression
hidden somewhere in the water so that the car could get
submerged beyond what the driver estimated causing it to ingest
water or result in the electricals getting drenched.
In both instances
that car would then stall in the middle of the pool.
The other danger
is submerged hazards such as rocks tree trunks or other large
These could cause
the vehicle to lose full grip as some of the tyres will be not
have full contact.
vehicle could ride on top of the submerged object resulting in a
portion of the vehicle rubbing against the object or the tyres
coming off the ground.
traction, the vehicle will not be able to move.
Second choice is
to wait until the flooding subsides.
benefit of local knowledge this could be a long affair.
What I have
witnessed (and also been part of the situation) is where one
arrives at a flooded location and there is one driver there who
has decided to wait.
On asking them,
they say that in the time they have been waiting there the water
level has gone down by a certain amount.
also confirm that this is the case.
One chooses to sit
it out in the comfort that they have company of a more
knowledgeable person – corroborated by the locals.
Soon other people
arrive and they are informed of the same thing and they take
comfort in the numbers and wait.
The number swells
and eventually one person gets impatient. This person asks the
drivers of other vehicles to move so that he can get across.
Those who have
been requested cooperate do so quickly because they want a rapid
resolution to their problem - someone to test the water so they
can decide on what to do.
driver then comes through the gap and accelerates and drives at
speed through the water with spectacular spray of water and
several things can happen.
The car could stop
in the middle of the water as a result of the mechanics and
electrics of the car getting compromised or some mechanical stop
under the water.
driver could successfully get across in the spectacular fashion
and then continue on their way.
The third one is
where there is a flowing body of water and the vehicle gets
carried away by the water even as it is driving across the water
In many instances
especially in towns and peri urban areas, there are alternative
routes that one can take so flooding is not a major issue.
The problems that
face urban dwellers is when one gets marooned between two
flooded locations so that taking alternative routes is not an
The other oddity
around flooding or rain and urban areas is the propensity to
Whenever there is
any rain it surprising how quickly roads get clogged by cars and
travelling times are doubled or even tripled.
The same happens
with human foot traffic. Areas get crowded as people travel
slower or stop to take refuge.
When the downpour
is lengthy or short and intense, the period after the rain stops
is marked by continued delay as traffic – both vehicular and
human – wait for the water to subside and for movement paths to
It sometimes takes
several days for our cities and towns to recover from heavy
In all this time
patience is a necessary virtue but one should also be acutely
aware that waiting in one spot could be the worst thing to do
especially when flash flooding is a very likely happening.
says, time is of essence in many circumstances.
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