Once upon a time, I was excited -- no, thrilled -- to go through flood water. There was a Saturday, back in college, when my family had to pick up my sister from the dorm. We braved through deep water in Makati; I actually enjoyed watching waves of floodwater wash over our old van. Then there were several times when the school service jeep, back in grade school, had to be driven through floods in Brgy Bagong Kalsada, Calamba, making big waves in the process. And I couldn't forget playing in the nursery school playground as muddy water churned into what my classmates and I then called the "Goya Fun Factory" (the Pinoy version of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory).
Ah, the memories of childhood (well, and of early adulthood). But now, I know better, I believe.
Being in the midst of a flood is not fun at all -- it's dangerous, even -- especially when you're sitting in a car that's floating aimlessly in a flash flood and it took you eight hours to get home instead of the usual 45 minutes. My siblings and I remember enjoying the "tidal waves" of ten years past while our parents were worrying about the water getting into the vehicle. I also remember keeping my dad awake with recycled dinner table stories as we waited for the water to subside in the SLEX back when I was in grade school.
I now know the wisdom behind my parents' pieces advice about driving in a flash flood:
(1) Do not even think about crossing it.
(2) Turn the car around if you can; wait it out on high ground.
(3) Don't turn the AC while stuck in the flash flood.
(4) Keep your right foot on the accelerator when you're in the middle of a flooded road. Never ever take it off. In an automatic transmission car, that means that the left foot is assigned the brake pedal.
(5) Keep an overnight set of clothes, some water and food.
(6) If the car has to be abandoned in the middle of the road, disconnect the battery to prevent damage to the car's computer.And the last tip, this one I got from Donald Villanueva after I've told my friends my flash flood story:
(7) If in the midst of a flash flood, open the driver-side window. That's the escape route in case you can't open the doors.