Whether you are new to driving or you have been driving for decades, car safety should be a top priority every time you get in your vehicle. Practicing safe driving on flooded roads is essential.
Listen to the Authorities
One of the most important things you can do when there is extensive flooding is to not delay your evacuation. If extensive flooding is probable, an evacuation notice might be issued. Even before the notice has been issued, you should be ready to leave. This means getting together at least a basic essentials emergency kit and being ready to take off as soon as the notice is issued. To avoid being in a hurry, this kit should be assembled before a flood or other natural disaster is even predicted.
At times, you might be told to take a certain route or simply to move to higher ground. Even if you think another route will be faster, follow the instructions of the authorities. Certain roads might already be flooded, and if you attempt to take those routes, you may either get stuck or have to turn around.
When flooding has happened or is happening, it is important to not try to drive around or through areas blocked off by the police or other officials. Even if you do not see it, there could be flooding, a mudslide, dangerous debris, or something else on the roadway, which you may not notice until it is too late to turn around.
Pay Attention to the Road
Even if an evacuation notice has not been issued, it could be dangerous to drive on flooded roadways. Although it might seem fun to drive through large puddles on the road, you may underestimate the depth of the puddle. You could cause serious damage to your vehicle. Your vehicle could also hydroplane, putting yourself, your passengers, and other vehicles on the road in a dangerous position. When possible, go around puddles on the road. If going around them is not an option, slow down and try to go through the lowest part of the puddle. Watching other vehicles drive through the puddle can help you determine the safest part to go through. Never go through puddles if there are downed power lines or other debris that might cause an added hazard.
Do Not Take Chances
Whether you are in a hurry or you are simply taking a familiar route, it can be tempting to continue driving if there are only a few inches of water on the road. Unfortunately, this is not always the best idea, especially if water levels are rising. Instead of taking a shortcut through an area with a few inches of moving water, when possible, turn around. It only takes about six inches of moving water to knock you down, and two feet of moving water can sweep your vehicle away. During a flood, water levels can rise quickly. Turning around when you realize it could become a problem could save your life.
Unfortunately, people sometimes find themselves stuck on a flooded road, where neither going forward nor turning around are options. If you find your vehicle stuck in flood waters, you will need to make a decision as soon as possible about what to do. If your vehicle stalls in calm waters, particularly if the water levels are rising, abandon the vehicle and get to higher ground as soon as possible. Because it only takes a few inches of moving water to knock you over, if the water is moving, you are safest staying in your vehicle rather than getting out of your vehicle and risking getting swept away.
As a driver, it is important to be prepared for potential disasters and other vehicle issues before the problems arise. Contact us to renew your AAA membership or to learn about starting a membership for yourself or someone else.