- Size up the puddle first – even if it means you have to stop your car and get out (getting a bit wet is a lot better than being left stranded). If the water is muddy you might not be able to see the bottom and gauge its depth. Try and find a stick or an object to find the lowest point.
- If it’s clearly too deep for your car, find another way to your destination. Modern vehicles’ door seals are good and keep water out, but this can make a car buoyant, meaning it could begin to float if the water gets to deep leaving you stranded. Even in this instance the water will eventually find its way in.
- If the puddle is shallow enough to drive through, try and spot any objects that may cause damage to your car’s wheels, tyres or suspension, potentially leaving you mid-puddle with a problem. This way you can pick a safe path across.
- Once you’ve confirmed you can drive through the puddle and determined your route, keep your vehicle in a low gear (second is generally adequate) and engine revs up. This will help you maintain momentum when you travel through the puddle, creating a bow wave so you don’t get bogged down.
- Once you exit the other side – and especially if the puddle is on the deep side – pause for a moment if you can to let any excess water drain away and flow back to where it came from.
- If you can’t, be aware that grip levels on the road ahead will be diminished, as fluid from the puddle is dropped along the Tarmac by other cars.
- It’s always worthwhile to gently brush your brake pedal on exit, creating some friction and therefore heat to evaporate off any excess moisture. Some luxury vehicles can sense when you’ve navigated a puddle and automatically do this for you, keeping braking performance as effective as possible.
Shallow puddles are not the most arduous obstacles to overcome, but it’s still important to remember that on the other side of a puddle grip levels could be lower. Adjust your speed to suit the depth of the water, too.
If the obstruction is deeper, take more time and care when crossing it. A few minutes planning could save you plenty of time – and money – in having your car repaired. And never attempt to drive through fast flowing water – you could easily get swept away.