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  • Driving through water clogged areas, a common behaviour of Indian Motorists – ICICI Lombard survey

    Published on July 23, 2015

    India continues to see a plethora of new vehicle launches, as consumer show preference to purchase new and innovative models rather than purchase the image013regular versions. Even as Indians choose the new and innovative, they continue to display lethargy when it comes to safe driving and maintaining their vehicles, especially during monsoon season. It is a common sight to see cars and two wheelers being driven through water clogged areas, posing a threat to the vehicle as well as the passengers.

    To understand the current driving behaviour of Indian car owners during rains, ICICI Lombard undertook an on-field survey across 4 metro cities in July. The sample size for the survey was 1000 respondents, current owners of a 4 wheeler vehicle and who had in the past, driven their vehicle during the monsoon season. The majority (56%) of the respondents surveyed were between the age group of 22-35 years old. The company will utilize the findings to create programs aimed at creating awareness among Indian vehicle owners on safe driving during monsoon.

    When questioned about the kind of vehicle damages they envisage when it comes to driving their vehicles in the monsoon season, majority of the respondents felt that ‘Tyre Puncture’ (70%) and ‘Damage caused due to potholes’  (61%) were the key perils associated with the season. What’s interesting is that on an average across the 4 cities, people are aware about the damages caused to engine, due to ingression of water while driving through clogged water (26%) and seepage of water inside the engine compartment (53%), when parked in submerged water.

    However, Mumbai seems to be unaware of the impact of driving through water clogged roads. Only 13% (the lowest among all 4 cities) were aware of engine seizure in case of driving through water. Again, a lower 43% respondents in Mumbai were aware of seepage of water inside engine compartment during monsoon compared to 4 city average of 53%.

    Despite being aware of the perils caused to the vehicle engine due to water ingression, 72% of respondents admitted to having driven their vehicle in water clogged areas and 34% among them had encountered a situation, where their car had stalled, while driving through low-lying areas. All respondents from Delhi admitted to driving their vehicle in water clogged areas with 61% of the respondents having encountered situations where their cars had stalled while driving through water clogged areas.

    Mumbai respondents were more cautious here with 41% respondents having driven through water clogged areas during monsoon and 22% facing an issue while doing the same.

    The perturbing fact which came across from the study was that 64% respondents tried to restart the vehicle by pushing with help from passer-bys while 58% respondents admitted to crank the engine for restarting the vehicle, with the vehicle still being part submerged in water.

    Despite being cautious of not driving through water, a higher number i.e. 58% of Mumbai respondents tried to crank their vehicle’s engine to restart the vehicle. Bangalore respondents were the most cautious with only 33% trying to forcefully start the engine when stuck on a water clogged road.

    The limited awareness regarding avoiding driving through water clogged areas is also extended to lack of understanding of the motor insurance policy. Only 35% respondents surveyed were aware that motor insurance does not cover damage to engine if the vehicle is driven through water clogged areas. Kolkata was the least aware with only 11% respondents being aware of the same. To add to this, 41% respondents across the four cities were not sure if their car insurance would cover such instances.

    Coverage of Insurance if driven through water clogged areas

    A vehicle which is stalled in water is caused due to the mechanical failure called ‘Hydrostatic Lock’, wherein water enters the engine due to driving in flooded waters or by cranking the engine in submerged water, leading to stalling of the vehicle. A mere 7% of the respondents were aware of this technical aspect.

    Hydrostatic Lock occurs due to consequence of the driver’s actions once a vehicle is submerged in water and by forcing the car to start by cranking the engine. It is important to note that engine damage due to hydrostatic loss is classified as a ‘consequential loss’ as per motor insurance regulations and is not covered under a regular motor insurance policy. This is because the damage is a consequence of a certain action resulting from having cranked the engine and not an outcome of an uncertain event.

    However, today insurance companies do offer Add-on covers such as Engine Protect which reimburses the claims arising from the Engine due to Hydrostatic Lock. Among the respondents, barely 11% of the respondents were aware of this Add-on cover and only 1% had opted for an Engine Protect cover.

    Your car is indeed a safer vehicle when driving through rains compared to two wheelers and other modes of transport. However, it is extremely essential that we are aware and show caution when driving in the rains.

    Source : Sachin Murdeshwar



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