Many people are killed every year due to driving into a flooded roadway. Spring and early summer is when much of that flooding occurs. You should never drive into a flooded area. As little as two feet of flowing water can carry most vehicles off the road.
The National Weather Service has a slogan, “Turn around don’t drown.” They are trying to educate people to the dangers of floods. The Weather Service also provides roadway signs to be posted in areas that are prone to flooding.
There are lots of reasons why you should never drive in a flood. Here are some of them to make you more aware of the dangers lurking in that flooded road.
1. If you cannot see the ground under the water, do not drive into it. The water may be much deeper than you think and your vehicle can be swept away. This is especially risky if it is a river that is over its banks. There may also be debris in the roadway that you can not see. This can wreck a vehicle.
2. When you come upon flood water, stop the car, get out and check to see how deep the water is. If the water comes up farther on your car than the bottom edge of the door it can cause engine problems. The engine can stall because of the water splashing up into it.
3. If you see a flooded road ahead, turn around and find a different route to where you are going. Even if the water is shallow, there may be dips in the road where the water is much deeper or the road may be washed out.
4. Although not advisable, if there is no alternate route and you must drive through the flooded area, drive very slowly. Keep a steady speed in order to maintain control. If your car stalls, leave it immediately and get to higher ground. Remember that six inches of water can cause loss of control and cause the car to stall. 12 inches of water will float about any vehicle, including pickups and SUVs. Two feet of rushing water can sweep away almost any vehicle.
Always be cautious when driving in a rainstorm. You never know when you may come upon a flash flood or trees down in the roadway. Slow down and keep your mind on driving. Let cell phones ring, turn down the music and concentrate on the road.
Other pointers to remember in a rainstorm; never use cruise control as it can cause the vehicle to hydroplane; use the brakes cautiously by braking earlier and softly; stay toward the middle of the road because there often is standing water along the side of the road. If the storm is so bad it is difficult to see the road, pull over to the shoulder and wait until conditions are safer.