According to the National Weather Service, flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster in the United States. If you must drive in flood, here are some safety tips to follow:
The priority should always be to avoid driving in floods. You never know how deep the water is. And it can be very harmful if it gets in your car’s engine. But still, if you are compelled to drive in flood, make sure you take the necessary precautions.
Safety Tips to Drive in Flood
1. Avoid Floodwaters
If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being caught in a flood while driving, there are some things you can do to stay safe. First, if it is at all possible to turn around and get to safety, do so.
Never attempt to drive through floodwaters if you can avoid them. If your car stalls in water, abandon it immediately and move to higher ground.
2. If you can’t avoid it, know what to do
If you cannot avoid driving through floodwaters, proceed cautiously and follow these tips:
- Drive slowly and steadily through the water. Do not try to speed through.
- Avoid driving through water that is moving too quickly or is too deep for your car. Six inches of water can cause your car to lose control, and two feet of water will float most vehicles.
- Be especially careful on bridges, which can be swept away by fast-moving waters. If you have any doubts about the safety of a bridge, don’t cross it.
- Be alert for downed power lines in the water. Do not touch them or drive over them with your car.
- If your car stalls in the water, abandon it immediately and move to higher ground.
3. Be extra careful driving through floodwaters
If you have to drive through water that is more than a few inches deep, use extra caution. Driving through water can be dangerous and even deadly. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:
- Driving in Deep Water
Never drive through water that is moving quickly. This can cause your car to be swept away. If the water is moving slowly, or if it is only a few inches deep, proceed slowly and carefully.
Do not try to drive through water that is deeper than your car. This can cause your engine to stall, and you could get stranded.
- Do Not Drive in Flood if you Can’t See the Water Clearly.
Be extra careful driving at night. It can be harder to see shallow water on the road. Be aware of the possibility of submerged objects in the water. These can damage your car or cause you to lose control.
Do not drive around road barricades. Barricades are there for your safety. If your car does stall in the water, abandon it immediately and move to higher ground. Do not try to restart the engine.
Be Prepared for a Flood
Floods can happen unexpectedly and can cause a lot of damage to your vehicle. Preparing for a flood is crucial. You should know what to do and what to avoid.
This article will give you some tips on how to stay safe while driving in flood.
Have an emergency kit in your car
Whenever you get in your car, be prepared for the possibility of a flood. These tips can help keep you safe:
- Have an emergency kit in your car. Include items such as a first-aid kit, jumper cables, flares, a flashlight, and extra batteries.
- If you see water on the road ahead, slow down and try to drive through it only if you know it’s not too deep for your car. If you can’t see the ground through the water, don’t try to drive through it. Turn around and go another way.
- Never drive around a barricade that’s been placed to block a flooded road.
- Be especially careful at night when it’s harder to see water on the road.
Know how to check for flood damage
If you have to drive in a flood, know how to check for flood damage before you start driving. Use these tips from the National Automobile Dealers Association to help you determine if a car has been damaged by flooding:
- Check the vehicle’s title or registration. If it has a “salvage” or “flood” designation, the car has been damaged by flooding and should not be driven.
- If the car has been in flood, there may be water damage even if there is no visible evidence of it. Have a qualified mechanic check for water damage in the engine, transmission, and electrical systems.
- Be aware that flood-damaged cars may have had their odometers rolled back to make them appear to have fewer miles than they actually do.
- Always get a Vehicle History Report (VHR) or similar report from a reputable source before buying any used car. A VHR will tell you if the car has been in flood.
Stay Safe During a Flood
Floods can happen at any time and often with little to no warning. If you find yourself driving in flood, the most important thing to remember is not to panic. Stay calm and follow these safety tips to help you get through the situation as safely as possible.
Be aware of the dangers of driving in a flood
Floodwaters can rise quickly and without warning. Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock you down, and two feet of rushing water can sweep your vehicle away. Never attempt to drive through floodwaters.
If you must drive in flood, the National Weather Service recommends the following:
- Avoid driving through areas that are known to flood.
- Listen to local radio or television stations for updates on road closures and conditions in your area.
- Do not attempt to drive in flood around barricades. They are there for your protection. Turn around and find an alternate route.
- Do not attempt to cross a flowing stream on foot or in a vehicle unless you are sure it is safe to do so. Water may be deeper than it appears, and the current may be much stronger than you think. Rising water can sweep a car off the road even if the water is shallow enough to walk through.
- If your car becomes stranded in rising waters, abandon it immediately and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. Floodwaters can rise quickly, and without warning, so you could become trapped if you wait too long to get out of your car.
Be prepared for the worst
Floods can happen with little or no warning, so it’s essential to be prepared ahead of time. The first step is to find out if your area is at risk for flooding.
You can check the National Flood Insurance Program’s website to see if your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. If it does, there is a good chance that you live in a high-risk flood area.
Once you know if you’re at risk, you can take steps to protect yourself and your property. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends creating an emergency kit with enough supplies to last 72 hours. You should also have a plan for what to do if a flood happens, including an evacuation route.
If you do find yourself driving in a flood, there are some vital safety tips to keep in mind.
First, never try to drive through water that is deeper than six inches. This may sound like common sense, but many people try to do it anyway and end up stranded or worse.
Second, be aware of the risks of driving through water that has been contaminated by sewage or other chemicals. This water can contain harmful bacteria and viruses that can make you sick.
Finally, never try to drive around barricades that authorities have put in place. These barricades are there for your safety, and driving around them puts you and others at risk.
Following these simple tips can help keep yourself safe from harm during driving in flood.