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Yes, you can drive through 18 inches of water.
Last night we had a little adventure on the way to P.F. Chang's for dinner. It was pouring down rain like crazy when we left and in addition to the poor condition of the Detroit roads, they also have an extremely poor water drainage system (most cities have separate water drainage and raw sewage systems, but Chicago doesn't. I wonder about Detroit...). Detroit's roads, in many cases, didn't seem to have drains at all! I saw one drain that was working and one drain what was flooding and otherwise there were 4-6 inch deep puddles all over the roads AND on the interstates! Talk about ghetto.

But here was our adventure. Driving down E Grand heading toward I-75, we noticed an aweful lot of people turning toward the I-75 entrance, then stopping, reversing out and driving away. Some of these were compacts, which was understandable, but we also saw a large number of SUVs stopping and reversing. There were four of us in the Subaru Outback and since we had all-wheel drive, we decided to take a better look. There was a good 40-50 foot diameter lake in the middle of the street under a bridge so there was no shoulder. The three passengers and I unanimously agreed that we could make it. I started driving in, but once we got in about 15 feet, I lost my nerve and slammed on the brakes (a rather poor judgement since it made the front dip deeper in the water) and started reversing back.

The guy sitting next to me was like "What the he** are you doing? Just go!" We sat in front of the lake for a minute trying to decide what to do. At about 15 feet into the lake the water had reached our headlights making it about 18 inches deep, and yet no water had seeped into the doors. One guy and I were skeptical about whether we could make it, one guy was pretty quiet and one guy was like "Dude, you can make it!"

I reversed out a little more and decided to build up some momentum and go for it. We hit the water going about 20 and made some huge waves. The car slowed down quite a bit but kept going until the water was over our headlights and starting to wash up on the hood a little, meaning the water was approximately 2 feet deep. By this time a van and sedan had pulled up to the water and were watching us to see what would happen. Well, we made it without incident. Not a drop of water seeped in through the doors and the engine didn't struggle at all.

Yeah, yeah, I'm sure someone's going to tell me how dumb that was and how some guy driving through the water in Chesterfield got his car swept into the creek where he drowned, but my co-workers assured me that there was no river or creek nearby. Worst case scenario would be that we'd get stranded in the middle and get wet and perhaps lose our laptops if the water got into the trunk. But otherwise, it was a rental car and we had our cell phones in case we needed to call for help. To be honest, I'm amazed that the engine didn't get water-logged at that depth since water was surely in the engine compartment. It was probably good that I had a full car because it gave us more weight to anchor us to the ground. It was quite an adventure and the van waiting for us decided to follow us after seeing our success. The sedan, however, with it's low clearance and engine wisely chose not to.
Posted 06/27/2002 08:38 AM in Cars, Travel | Total Comments: (0)
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