Ghana is not being left out of the impact of climate change. Traditionally, the months of June and July are known to be the months that bring the most rain.
However, this year that was not the case. Instead, more rain has fallen in the later parts of August and the early days of September.
There have been reports of floods in parts of the Ashanti Region and others parts of the northern regions.
Some have claimed lives and others have washed away roads putting the lives of motorists, passengers and pedestrians at risk.
In August, a taxi driver in Kumasi nearly lost his life when his car was engulfed in floodwater. In a video that went viral, the taxi driver could be seen standing on the roof of his vehicle that is almost engulfed with the water. When he made an attempt to jump into the water to clinch a rope that had been thrown at him, he missed it and was washed away by the power of the flow of the water until two boys quickly jumped to his rescue.
Though the taxi driver was lucky that day, the story could have ended very differently.
A lot has been said about adhering to general safety tips when you live in a flood-prone area, however, little tips have been given to motorists who are suddenly met with life-threatening flash floods.
One key life-saving skill everybody needs to acquire, irrespective of where you live is the ability to swim or at least float. Once water continues to be a threat, you need to educate yourself on how to survive it.
If you know someone who knows how to swim, you can get them to help you with weekend tutorials or choose a time at their convenience.
Once you learn how to handle yourself in water the following tips will then be more helpful if you are suddenly caught in flash floods while you are driving.
In a situation like that, you should remain calm. You will need all your energy and confidence to navigate the challenges that would come next.
You need to turn on your headlights and hazard lights, this will make it easier for help to spot you and rescue you especially during the night.
After that, you need to unbuckle your seat belt and unlock your doors. Then take off any extra clothing you are wearing – suits, jackets, hoodies.
Your next action is to slowly lower your window, if the window is not lowering, do not panic. It means you have to come out through your door.
However, because the water level would have been high, you won’t be able to immediately open the door. Do not panic here too. The water needs to flow into your car to equalise the pressure between the outside of the and car and the inside of the car. Here, you have to wait, without panicking for the water in the car to reach the level of your neck.
Then try to open the door again, if it opens then you swim to safety.
Most people would try to break the glass to escape from the car, however, if you break the glass when the pressure in and outside the car has not equalised, the moment the glass breaks, the water will rush into your car carrying the sharp glasses you just broke, which could injure you.
Also, like the taxi driver mentioned above, people tend to stand on the roof of their car once they are out of the car, please do not do that. Once you are out of the car, get yourself to safety. If you are standing on the car and the water sweeps the car away, you may go with it or you wouldn’t have enough time to respond to the new situation you find yourself in.
You got yourself to safety, the water level is down so you think it’s a good idea to return to your car, please don’t, the water level could rise suddenly without warning and you could be back in the same situation with probably less energy to get through it.
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