Flooding can occur anywhere, flash floods may strike suddenly while you’re driving, or floodwaters can rise gradually. In fact, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, flash floods are the number one weather-related killer in the United States, with most fatalities happening when people try to drive through waters rather than avoid them!
Water is a powerful force and can easily overtake your vehicle if you get caught in the middle of a flood. Check out these tips by the experts at Staples & Associates to stay safe if you find yourself driving during a flood.
What to Do During a Flood
- Don’t Drive Through Standing Water
Did you know that the average automobile can be swept off the road in just 12-inches of moving water? Attempting to drive through water may stall your engine, with the potential to cause irreparable damage if you try to restart the engine. If you come upon a flooded street, stay safe by taking an alternate route.
- Pay Attention to Barricades
If a road is flooded, sometimes there will be barricades up indicating that the road is unsafe to pass. Pay attention to these signs and do not attempt to drive past them, roads covered by water are prone to collapse, and the signs were put up for your safety.
- Take Extra Precautions if You’re Forced to Drive Through
You may find yourself in a situation where no alternate route exists, leaving you with no alternative but to drive through the standing water. While we do not recommend this, there are ways to stay safe if you have no other alternative.
- Do your best to estimate the depth of the water by watching other cars driving through.
- Watch for items traveling downstream and avoid them.
- Drive slowly and steadily through the water.
- Pay attention and stay off your phone unless you must report severe injuries.
- Avoid driving in water that a downed electrical or power line has fallen in, as electric current passes through water easily.
If you are driving through water and your vehicle stalls in deep water, you may need to restart your engine to make it through safely. It is important to keep in mind that restarting your vehicle may cause irreplaceable damage to your engine.
If you are not able to restart your vehicle and become trapped in rising water, immediately abandon your vehicle for higher ground. Try to open your door or roll down the window to get out of the vehicle. If you are unable to get out safely, please call 911 or get the attention of someone nearby so they can call for help.
Be sure that your vehicle is covered during any weather, and contact an agent from Staples Agency to review your policy!