Floods kill more people each year than lightning, tornadoes, hurricanes and wind storms. Experts report that nearly 60% of these deaths are people, who are swept away by flood waters while in their vehicles. With summer comes stormy weather and increased risks for floods, here are some things to consider if you must drive during a flood.
Driving during inclement weather is hardly advisable. Whether its cold weather or hot weather, drivers have to take special care. Here are some reasons not to drive when roads are flooded:
1. Rainy weather and flooding can make maneuvering over roads tricky;
2. Flood waters cover the roadways and make it hard to discern shallow and deep water or washed out pavement. A driver may misjudge the depth of standing or moving water and could either sink under water or be swept away by under currents;
3. Driving into floodwater can disable or damage your car’s systems, such as brakes, lights and engine;
4. Cars can be swept away during flooding increasing the risk of drivers and passengers drowning; and
5. Accidents can still occur during floods due to trees falling on cars, cars colliding or cars overturning. In these cases, people can be injured or killed.
If flash flooding or unforeseen issues arise and you have to drive along flooded roads, special precautions should be taken. Here are some tips:
1. If you must drive in low lying streets or roads near creeks, lakes or rivers, watch reports on road and weather conditions;
2. Consider your route and literally take the high road. Avoid roads that can have high water or water related damage;
3. Avoid water that can obscure lights and your car’s electrical systems;
4. Just as you do with cold water, make sure your car tires and emergency items are in good working order;
5. Pay careful attention to the road and turn off music and other distractions such as cell phones;
6. Take special care with using cruise control and brakes as they can cause a vehicle to hydroplane; and
7. Avoid driving at high speeds as bow waves can affect maneuverability.
With hurricane seasons already here, the risk of floods and heavy rains are real. Drivers have to be careful when traveling in these tricky weather conditions. Being aware and prepared is one of the best ways for drivers and their cars to survive this unpredictable season.