As ridiculous as it may seem, whenever it rains in Lebanon, roads actually flood, turning into rivers and puddles, due to bad road infrastructure and simply because sewers get blocked due to lack of maintenance by the government. We have all seen videos of canoes and speedboats roaming around the so-called Lebanese “road rivers and floods” on social media - which is why keeping a canoe or speedboat handy in winter may be a bright strategy ---- just kidding!! ????
So, here goes: what to do when all of a sudden we find ourselves heading towards a so-called Lebanese “road river or puddle” on a rainy day?
First and foremost, if there is any way you can take a turn and avoid driving through flooded water, then by all means, do so, even if it requires turning around and finding another route - that would be the best and least risky solution for yourself and your car. Your engine may be damaged badly if it ingests water, and you'll be stranded.
However, if you have no other option than to drive through, then move forward into the water very slowly at a steady pace in order not to lose momentum. If you drive quickly, you may risk losing steering control. Be considerate of pedestrians and other cars - driving through water quickly can create a splash that obstructs the visibility of other drivers and also soaks pedestrians.
If there are other cars ahead of you, it would be helpful to watch what happens to them as they drive through the water. This will enable you to judge the depth of the water and how it affects the car as well as warn you of any form of danger beneath the surface of the water such as large potholes or objects that have been swiped onto the road.
Also, be careful not to drive into the water where power lines have fallen as an electric current can be conducted by water. Once you surpass the flood, don’t forget that your brakes would be wet and would not function normally until they are dried out, which is why you should hit the brakes lightly in order for them to warm out and eventually dry out.
In case you encounter the worst-case-scenario of being stranded in the flooded road, and your engine stops running and won’t restart, do not keep trying to start it as this may create further damage. If you can safely make it to higher ground on foot, then do so, and immediately call a friend or relative for help. If it seems unsafe to leave the vehicle, just stay inside and if the water level becomes too high inside, you may have to climb onto the roof and wait for help to arrive.