While Cape York’s crocodiles make the standard 4WD procedure of walking creek crossings before driving them potentially dangerous, wherever possible you should make some effort to gauge the water’s depth and find the best route. Never blindly follow others across. Make sure all rescue equipment – shovel, winch, rope, etc – is easy to reach, outside the vehicle. Electrics on petrol engines need to be waterproofed. On deep crossings, block off air inlets to prevent water entering the engine, slacken off the fan belt and cover the radiator grille with a tarpaulin; this diverts water around the engine as long as the vehicle is moving. Select an appropriate gear (changing it in midstream will let water into the clutch) and drive through at walking speed; clear the opposite embankment before stopping again. In deep water, there’s a chance the vehicle might float slightly, and so get pushed off-track by the current – though there’s not much you can do about this. If you stall, switch off the ignition immediately, exit through windows, disconnect the battery (a short might restart the engine) and winch out. Don’t restart the vehicle until you’ve made sure that water hasn’t been sucked in through the air filter – which will destroy the engine.

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