Safe Driving on Flooded Roads

Safe Driving on Flooded Roads

The Dangers of Flood Waters

The actions of driving through waters that are rising instead of finding ways around them are responsible for causing flood deaths. Water that rushes across a roadway will generate a great amount of force, and even water that is standing can become a threat to the occupants of even large vehicles. Potential driving hazards are created by pavement water levels.

Six inches. This depth of water causes the tires of a vehicle to slide out of control because they have lost the needed traction.

Twelve inches. A foot of water can lead to most passenger cars floating. Once this happens you cannot use the brakes or steer. Moving floodwaters can carry away your car downstream or into obstacles.

Two feet. At this height, floodwaters constitute a risk even for large vehicles like SUVs or pick-ups, as the force in them is enough to wash them away.

Over two feet. At this height of floodwater, you are at risk of getting swept away, and if you still try to navigate your vehicle it will get hydro locked. This hydro locking occurs when water enters the combustion chamber of your engine and stops it from running. You get hopelessly stranded if your engine stalls.

How to Stay Safe on Flooded Roads

Obey Barricades

“Turn around, don’t drown”, is a saying that you will hear when you live in flood zones and have to drive in them. So if the Department of Traffic has put up a barricade, ignore it at your peril.

Avoid Standing Water

As we have said earlier, even a small amount of water on roads can make road conditions hazardous. Drive through standing water only if you are sure of its depth, and the surface beneath the water.

You May Not Have a Choice

There can be situations, like when you are a first responder when you have no other option than to go through floodwaters. Look for alternate routes, but if they are not available, drive forward after taking these precautions.

Estimate the depth of the water, by seeing how high the water comes up to the wheels of passing cars.

Your driving must be slow and methodical. Make sure there are no power lines downed, as their contact with water will lead electric current into your vehicle that is metal encased. Large items in the water like logs moving downstream can not only trap your vehicle but can also crush it along with its occupants.

Stay off the phone, unless it is an emergency, as you must not be distracted while you are driving.

Once you have come out of the water and it is at tire rim level, dry out your brake pads by using the brakes gently while moving on a clear stretch of road.

If you are in deeper water and your engine is stalled, try restarting the engine. An engine that is not dried can get damaged if you try restarting it.

If you continue to remain trapped in a vehicle that will not start, abandon it, and look for higher ground or trees. Open the door if you can, or roll down the window to get out of the stranded vehicle and ask a passing vehicle for help or call 911. If you find yourself in need of  a professional auto repair shop to navigate through water call us. Leahy’s auto will not leave you stranded.

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