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Flash flood scoops up a 4×4

31 January 2017

This video recently surfaced, showing a driver of a Toyota Land Cruiser Prado attempting to cross a flooding road in Chaman, Pakistan. According to, one person has died, while two others were lucky to escape the watery grave.

Unfortunately, though, this is not an isolated incident. Across the world, and even in South Africa, motorists underestimate the force of flowing water. As a result, Arrive Alive has issued a series of tips to remember when you are faced with a flooding road or low-water bridge.

According to Arrive Alive, flowing water applies pressure to specific contact areas on the body of a vehicle. The higher the water’s speed, the higher the pressure. One-metre high water that flows at roughly 16km/h, applies one ton of force per square metre, meaning that on an average car this flowing water can easily apply a force exceeding three tons.

It’s also important to remember that if a bridge’s surface is not visible, even if the white pillars on the sides are sticking out, there’s a strong possibility that the surface or sides of the bridge could be damaged. The pillars only serve as an indicator of the water’s level relative to the bridge.

What to do when facing a flash flood:

– It’s important to know your car’s limitations. Water that’s only 15cm deep can result in a loss of control, while 30cm is enough to float a car.
– It’s important not to panic when your car gets submerged: Release your seat belt, roll down the windows and get out of the car. If the windows won’t open, wait for the cabin to fill up with water. This will equalise the pressure, allowing you to open a door.
– When on foot, it’s important to remember that only 15cm of moving water can knock an adult off their feet.
– Most importantly, however, it’s best to avoid flooded areas altogether. You can do this by listening to a local radio station for weather updates and avoid low-lying areas.

For more information, visit the Arrive Alive road safety page on flash floods.