Driving in a flood is extremely dangerous. Did you know that nearly 50 percent of flood-related drownings are vehicle-related? If you find yourself out and about when a storm hits and flash flooding causes water to cover the roads, you need to know how to proceed.
Here are some tips to help you navigate flooded streets while making sure you stay safe.
Estimate How Deep the Water Is
As little as six inches of water can damage your car and stall out your engine. Six inches is also enough to make you lose your tire traction and control of your vehicle. A foot of water can make your vehicle float.
If you think the standing water is more than six inches, do not drive through it. Turn around and find a different route.
Take Your Time
Make sure you slow your speed with any standing water. Your car could easily hydroplane causing you to lose control. Try to drive at a steady pace to avoid an auto accident.
Look for Downed Power Lines
Before driving in any water, check your surroundings. Look for downed power lines. Never drive through any water if you see a power line near the road.
Respect Any Barricades
If you see any road closures or barricades, do not go around. There is a reason this road is closed, and there could be significant danger ahead.
Handling Your Engine in Water
If your vehicle stalls while you are in the water, you should try to restart it to proceed. This may cause significant damage to your engine, but your safety comes first.
If your engine does not restart and the water is rising, abandon your vehicle immediately to find higher ground. First, try to open the door or roll your window down. If you can’t get out, call 911 or find help from a passerby.
Do not wait out the water in your car. Your car can start floating at two feet, and staying in your car is not safe.
Test Your Brakes After Being in Water
If you have driven in water that is up to your wheel rims, make sure to test your brakes on a dry and clear patch of road. If they are not stopping your vehicle, you can dry them by using your left foot to gently press the brake pedal while you are using your right foot on the gas.
Drive at a steady, slow speed while you are testing your brakes. Do not pick up speed until you have tested your brakes.
After the Flood
If you drove through water, you should have your car checked for serious damage. Water damage may be declared a total loss to your vehicle. A mechanic can also review and check all the electrical components for damage.
If there is damage, contact your insurance company immediately to see if the flood damage is included in your car insurance policy.
Driving in a Flood Final Thoughts
If possible, you always want to avoid driving in a flood, but that’s not always possible. Make sure you don’t try to drive in standing water that is six inches or more. Drive slow and steady.
If you are in an accident from the flood or need representation, contact us today to speak to an experienced attorney for advice.