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Flood driving safety tips

A car driving down a flooded street as driver second guesses if this was a wise decision

In the news headlines, we've all seen the devastating effects that floods can have – wiping out neighborhoods and displacing entire communities. However, many people don't realize that a large percentage of flood-related fatalities happen when individuals choose to drive in flood conditions. For this reason, you should never drive on flooded roadways.

Unfortunately, you can't always predict when you'll encounter flooded road conditions – flooding can happen quickly and without much notice. For this reason, you should always be prepared and remember these Flood driving safety tips:

  • If you see a flooded road ahead, turn around and find a different route to your destination. Rushing water over roads can quickly erode the surface, creating large holes and depressions. A puddle that appears only a couple inches deep can be much deeper.
  • Always obey barricades and signs that warn of road flooding. Even if the water looks shallow enough to cross, don't attempt it. Water can be much deeper than it appears and can hide major road hazards, such as washed out areas and holes in the road. Worse yet, rushing water could cause your vehicle to float and carry it away.
  • Never go through puddles that are in contact with downed power lines. The lines could send an electrical current through the water, causing a potentially fatal hazard.
  • If you have driven through a large puddle or standing water, check your brakes afterwards to make sure they're functioning properly. Do this by gently holding down the brake pedal to ensure that any moisture on the brake rotors or drums won't hinder your car's stopping ability.
  • If your car stalls or becomes surrounded by water, do not stay in it. Carefully exit your car, be aware of your surroundings and any hazards, and head toward higher ground.

In addition, if your car has been submerged in floodwater while parked, contact a qualified mechanic for advice before attempting to start it. A thorough inspection may be necessary to ensure all mechanical and electrical parts are free of water damage and functioning properly. Serious damage could occur if you attempt to start it.

Again, you should always refrain from driving on flooded roadways. Although it's not the first thing that comes to mind when most people think about flooding, driving on flooded roads could cause life-threatening injuries.

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