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Tips For Riding Safely On Flooded Roads


The monsoon is in, and so are flooded roads! Here are some pointers to help you stay safe while riding on such tricky roads

flooded roads riding tips

The heavens have opened up almost all over India. Along with the cool temperatures, the sweet smell of petrichor might make you feel like having some pakodas and chai at home. However, things aren’t exactly rosy when you step out to commute, especially for two-wheeler riders who are exposed to a ton of inconvenient and often dangerous elements while riding in rains. Moreover, a lot of our roads flood up in an instant and this makes riding even riskier. Here are some tips which will help you stay safe in such situations:

Prevention is better than cure:

The most obvious thing to do while the roads are flooded is to try and avoid them altogether. In the age of smartphones and Google Maps, it is rather easy to figure out what the route has in store for you. Also, Twitter and radio stations often have updates regarding the traffic and flood situations across the city, so keeping an eye on them helps as well. If you take the same route to work everyday, you’d also have a fair idea about the route’s propensity to get inundated with rain water. So plan your route accordingly.

So you’re stuck in flooded roads. Now what?

If you’re stuck on a flooded road, do not panic - just have a look at your surroundings. See how the vehicles ahead of you behave on the road. It should give you a fair idea of how the terrain is ahead. This helps a lot in anticipating the potholes ahead of you. Do not ride fast, and make use of your legs for additional balance on heavily flooded roads, even if it means getting your expensive shoes drenched in water. Move in a straight path rather than zig-zagging. In case the water level is more than the centre of the wheel, avoid traversing through the road altogether as it simply isn’t worth risking your life.

Honda Africa Twin water crossing

If you’re riding on roads where the water level is higher than your exhaust tip, try to keep the bike in first gear only. Do not shift as reducing the throttle input increases the chances of water entering the exhaust outlet. Keep a steady throttle input and if need be, modulate your clutch. If your motorcycle has hazard lamps, keep them turned on in case the water level is too high and the rains are severe. Even though hazard lamps are meant to be used when the vehicle is stationary, keeping them switched on in situations like these goes a long way in increasing the bike’s visibility to other road users. Also, avoid taking roads that do not have traffic at all. That’s because if you drop the bike on the floodwaters, you may not have anyone to help you out.

Inspect the motorcycle after:

Honda Africa Twin front wheel dirty

Once the worst is over, park the bike in a shaded place and physically inspect your motorcycle. The first thing to do on priority is to check the efficiency of the brakes. There are high chances that water might have entered between the brake pads and this will result in reduced braking efficiency, apart from making the lever feel spongy. Apply the brakes slightly while on the move to remove water and dirt on the brake pads / brake shoes and disc / drum. Let the bike dry for some time and then check if all the electricals are working fine. Do not forget to lube the chain afterwards as the propensity of the chain losing its lubrication after riding through flooded roads is pretty high. Check the tyre pressures as well and make sure they are as per what’s given in your bike’s instruction manual.

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