Thursday, December 21, 2006

Go! Go! Go!

Every region has it's own special driving hazards: snow, black ice, Bostonians, what have you. In New Orleans it's street flooding. Certainly, flooding on the scale of Katrina's was unprecedented (one has to go back to Sauvé's Crevasse in 1849 for anything remotely comparable*), but flooding of less Biblical proportions is a semi-regular occurrence here.

Take this morning when a steady overnight rain covered many streets with a foot of water. The (typically) short drive to Louise's school turned into a harrowing, circuitous journey, tracing along high ground when possible, avoiding the deepest waters, crossing fingers and plunging through when there were no other choices, watching our wake lap into the yards of houses, hearing the engine splutter and churn as the wake of oncoming cars splashed through the grill and slapped against the doors, gripping the wheel and muttering hopeful incantations.

There are, as I see it, three key principals to flood-driving. Take heed!
  1. Think twice or possibly thrice before diving in. You don't want to be that car (and there always is a that car), the one stalled out in the middle of the street, blinkers flashing, water half way up its door.
  2. Once you start, don't stop! Go! Go! Go!
  3. (If and) when you do make it to the other side, don't forget that your brakes have been submerged in water and are now complete crap, and if you're not careful you'll drive into the car in front of you which has stopped to consider its options before plunging into the next small lake.
Am I forgetting any?

We did finally make it, half an hour late and very wet. (The last block was impassible and we had to abandon ship and hopscotch along the sidewalk through the deluge.) But at least we weren't that car. (One of the teachers, alas, was not so fortunate.)

This message has been brought to you by the Slimbo Foundation, promoting vehicular safety and cheeky blather for all Americans.

* Forgive the random factoid-dropping. I couldn't resist.


  1. OMG - I hope we don't get flooding here. I'm paranoid enough about driving in snow! I didn't know about that brakes/crap thing. Thanks for the tips. I think. (I'll just add them to my list of things to fret about.)

  2. Well, as the oceans continue to rise, these skills will become much more broadly applicable.

  3. Ah, yes, one of the things I don't miss! I knew there were a few. I floated a little Chevy hatchback once, at a Metarie intersection that didn't look like it dipped that much.

    Mele Kalikimaka and Hau'oli Makahiki Hou, Y'all!