In a climate where it rains nearly half the year, riding through a storm is something that many Filipino riders have to deal with at some point. So it pays to know what you should and shouldn’t do when an emergency strikes. That said, there are several things you can do to ensure you and your bike come out of a flash flood in one piece.
Assess your surroundings
In the event of a flash flood, ground visibility may be compromised. This temporary obstruction makes it especially dangerous for bikes traversing flooded streets. Whether you have a Honda or a Ducati, as long as you’re exposed to the elements, you probably aren’t safe. Make sure you inspect your immediate area, taking care to avoid potholes or other potential hazards. Be careful to correctly estimate the water depth around you. Even a tiny miscalculation here can be costly. Try to find shallow pockets within the flooded area, as these may be easier for you to pass through.
You can't fight a storm with speed. Your best hope against flash floods would be to take things slowly and continually adjust to the changing road conditions. Before proceeding, check if your bike's air intake placement is high enough to avoid the flood. Water levels that lie below the air intake could be safe to cross, but still, use your best judgment. When in doubt, just wait things out.
Once you take the plunge and start crossing the flood, stay in a lower gear and maintain your speed going in one direction. Your objective is to get from point A to point B safely. Stopping or changing directions at this point might not be helpful. For automatic scooters like the Yamaha NMAX 155, remember to keep a steady hand on the throttle and loosen your grip to slow down instead of hitting the brakes abruptly. For manual transmission motorcycles, be ready to pull the clutch lever at any time in case the need arises. These techniques should help you cross the flood without incident.
As you're moving along and out of the flood, you can slowly start picking up speed. If you get to this point, the worst may be over, but you still have to complete the task and get to safety. Everything should be good by now, but remember your motorcycle was still submerged in water. The bike will need to dry off before it's completely safe to use. You should check if your brakes and transmission are functioning properly. If all is well, then it looks like you've successfully crossed flood on a motorcycle.
What if I lose control of the motorcycle?
If you lose control of your bike at any point during the above procedures, make sure you turn off the engine before allowing the bike to fall in the water. This simple step can save your bike's engine from major water damage. You should also seek help if your motorcycle becomes completely submerged in water. Do not try to turn the engine on without sufficiently drying the motorcycle and its components.