How To: Drive Through a Flood

Published by on . Updated on 24 Feb 2022

Motorist Malaysia Flood What To Do
(Photo Credit: Straits Times)

There a high chance that you have encountered a flood before, especially during the monsoon seasons. And we're sure that you’ve thought if it were possible to drive through it.

For those unaware, Malaysia faces two monsoon seasons throughout the year. The Southwest Monsoon from late May to September, and the Northeast Monsoon from October to March.

During these periods, it's common to encounter floods while driving, especially in low-lying areas or areas with poor drainage systems.

If you ever encounter a flood on your drive and are unsure on what to do, kindly refer to our guide below.

Assess the water level before crossing a flooded road

Photo 1547683905 F686c993aae5(Photo credit: Unsplash)

Needless to say, the very first thing you should do is to assess the water level before driving across a flooded road.

If you drive an SUV or a vehicle that has a high level of ground clearance, it should not pose much of a challenge for you to drive through the flooded road

However, for those who are driving 'stanced' cars or cars with low ground clearance, it is a wise choice to find an alternative route as floodwater could leak into your car if there are any ill-fitted sills.

Not only will it damage your car's interior, which can result in moulding, bacterial growth and a foul smell, but you might end up with an expensive repair bill if any of the engine components or electronics get damaged.

Drive cautiously and at a slow and steady pace

01 Aquaplaning En Data(Photo Credit: Uniroyal)

You should never speed through a flood. This will create a bow wave which can splash onto unknowing bystanders. Not only is this an inconsiderate and rude move, but it could potentially damage your engine if water gets in and short circuits the electronics located in the engine compartment.

The general rule that you should follow is to avoid driving faster than your bow wave. If you see oncoming traffic, it is wise to allow other cars to pass first. That way your bow wave will not meet theirs.


Aquaplaning is when a layer of water builds up between the wheels of the vehicle and the surface of the road. Which can result in a loss of traction and make it difficult to steer, brake or accelerate properly.

A sign of aquaplaning is when your revs start to increase and your speedometer will show an inaccurate reading as your wheels have broken traction.

To counter this, slowly ease off the accelerator and hold your steering wheel straight. Never slam your brakes or turn your wheels suddenly as it might cause you to lose control.

Stick to the middle of the road and keep the revs high

Motorist Malaysia Flood What To Do Brakes
(Photo credit: Unsplash)

A general rule of thumb is to move your car towards the centre of the road or lane. This is because puddles tend to form along the edge of the pavements.

You should also drive in the tire tracks left by the cars in front, as they would have displaced much of the surface water giving you a grippier surface to drive on.

However, when wading through deeper levels of water, stay in first gear and keep the revs high to prevent water from entering your exhaust pipes and flooding the engine.

Things to check after driving through a flood
  • Brakes 
  • Carpeting and mats
  • Engine 

After driving through a flood, be sure to check your brakes as they tend to lose their grip after being soaked with water. It is good to pump your brake pedal a few times as the contact between the pads and rotors help return it to a dry and optimal state.

Sometimes water can enter your car via ill-fitted sills or through the undercarriage. As such it is wise to remove the carpeting and mats to check if the padding beneath it is soaked. It is not a good idea to let the wet carpeting sit as it can result in bacterial growth and that nasty mildew odour. To prevent this, allow the carpet to air dry as soon as possible.

Does your car feel jittery when idling or is there a lack of power when accelerating? This could be because water might have entered your engine. To check this, have a look at the oil dipstick.

If water contamination has occured, the oil will appear milky, beige, or diluted. In the event where this happens, it is advisable to stop driving and instead get your car towed to the nearest workshop.

We hope you have found our flood guide useful. Did we miss anything out? Let us know in the comments below!

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