Flash Floods

Suzuki sx4 steering wheel

Highly deceptive and often quite dangerous flash floods catch motorists off-guard almost every rainy season. Stay safe with some useful tips from the team at Suzuki Gaborone.


Flash floods are unpredictable & can be fast as well as deadly – however, there are ways to stay safe if you find yourself caught in the middle of one. 



Firstly, it is always best to try & avoid the water in the road altogether, if possible. It can be deceptively deep or flow much faster than what it looks like from the surface. Flash floods, as the term suggests, are quick and severe & can often lead to a lot of vehicle damage. Flash floods can cause damage to the road surface. You’re unlikely to see this damage from behind your wheel. Massive potholes, ditches or even sharp objects could be hiding under what appears to be a large puddle or lightly flooded road. 

If the entire road is covered in water & you can’t get a clear view of what lies beneath, don’t drive across it. It can be frustrating, but rather arrive late for your meeting than risk losing your vehicle or worse, your life. 


Arrive Alive:

No matter how well you think you know that road, assumptions can lead to cars being damaged & lives lost. Always be aware of your surroundings as you are most likely not seeing what may be under the surface of the water. Especially in poor weather conditions that may impair your vision.






Your car is much more vulnerable than you may think, says Emergency Services, “Be very aware of your car’s limitations. If you drive through water that is 15 cm deep or more, your car could lose control and stall. Furthermore, 30 cm of water is enough to float most cars, and 60 cm of rushing water can indeed carry away cars, SUVs and pick-ups.” Avoid driving over large bodies of water on the road – reverse or take another route if you see a flooded road or bridge ahead of you.

Many of us know the term ‘aquaplaning’ – where a vehicle loses control due to water on the road.


The Johannesburg Road Agency keeps its advice short and simple:

  • Areas, where water is covering the road, should always be avoided. Water covering the road can cause difficulty in telling how deep it is or if the underneath road has been washed away.
  • Turn around & go the other way!
  • Look out for flooding at highway dips, bridges & low areas.
  • If the vehicle stalls, leave it immediately & seek higher ground.
  • At night, when your vision is the most impaired, should be when one applies the greatest amount of caution.
  • Do not park your vehicle along streams & washes, particularly during threatening conditions.





With all the above said, no matter how cautious you are, sometimes flash floods are just unavoidable. You could be stuck in traffic when one hits & there is nowhere to go. In this case, it’s crucially important to remember these tips below as published by IOL Daily News:


  • In the event that there is a risk that you will be caught in a flood, pull off the road & look for higher ground.
  • Make sure you leave enough space for emergency vehicles to pass in the event that you decide to pull off.
  • Drive as slowly as possible if you have no alternative but to drive through a body of water. Put your vehicle in first gear with both hands on the steering wheel. This will give your car the necessary traction to move forward. Driving fast may result in aquaplaning.
  • If you do make it through, check your car for any damage, and feather the brakes to dry them. Have an expert examine your vehicle afterwards for any damage that may be longer-lasting.
  • In the event that your car has been partially or completely submerged, & you have stopped in a body of water, don’t try to start it unless you have had a technician look at it, as this may result in damage to the engine.
  • Make sure you are as visible as possible, switch on your headlights.
  • If your car is being surrounded by water, unfasten your seatbelt (& those of any children with you), unlock your doors, & open your windows.  If water starts entering through the windows, get out of the vehicle & make your way to the nearest area with higher ground, if possible. Remember, your life is more important than your car.
  • Always try to stay calm if you are caught in a flood. Emergency services will get to you but there may be delays as they have to negotiate the same hazards.
  • Be especially cautious at night, or when visibility is low, as it may be harder to see floods ahead.


If your windows won’t open, let the car fill with water. Then open the doors, get out & swim to the surface. Don’t stay until it sinks. #flashfloodtips


If you get caught in a flash flood, the first & most important thing to do is to not panic, because panic leads to mistakes. It might seem completely counter-intuitive but take a moment to calm yourself & asses the situation. This will give you the time to run through the above checklist in your mind & get yourself out of danger, hopefully with as little damage as possible…



Our dedicated team are here for you,  get more safety advice by contacting us.



  • 084 124 (Medical Rescue)
  • 988/999 (Fire Brigade)
  • 10177 (Ambulance)