In a perfect world, no one would drive in severe weather like a storm or flood. Unfortunately, these conditions can sometimes strike suddenly while commuters are already on the road. Stay prepared and brush up on best practices for driving in a flood or storm.
How to Drive Safely Through Storm Conditions
The best way to stay safe during a storm is to wait it out before driving, advises the National Weather Service’s “Turn Around Don’t Drown” campaign. But if you’re already on the road when you receive the storm warning, what should you do?
- Drive away from low-lying areas that are subject to severe flooding and head for high ground, advises the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
- Try to estimate the depth of the water before driving into it. The water may be far deeper than it appears. Just six inches of water can cause a vehicle to lose traction and 12 inches of flowing flood water can lift and carry off a small vehicle, according to the NWS. Never attempt to drive into these deeper waters.
- Drive slowly and steadily if the standing water is determined not too deep. Your brakes may not work properly if you are driving through water a few inches high, so it is best to maintain a low and cautious speed.
- Never drive past a posted barricade if you come across one during a storm or flash flood, advises the NWS. These are put in place to warn motorists of deep waters that may be filled with hazards, such as downed electrical wires, chemicals, and washed-out road surfaces.
What Do I Do if I’m Trapped in Rising Flood Water?
Becoming trapped in rising flood water is a nightmarish experience, but there are steps motorists can take to survive and escape to safety.
- If your car stalls, but the flood waters have not risen high enough to begin flooding your car, you should open your door, leave your vehicle, and walk to higher ground immediately, recommends the NWS.
- If flood waters are rapidly rising around you, try to lower your windows slowly, unbuckle your seatbelt, and be prepared to escape through the window to higher ground, advises Popular Mechanics. Avoid opening the door unless you absolutely cannot escape through the window, as it will flood the car with water at a much quicker rate.
- Get to dry land as quickly as possible to minimize your time in flood waters. The flood water could be contaminated, full of dangerous debris, or could suddenly surge, sweeping you downstream.
- Never go back to your vehicle during the flood. It’s simply not worth your life.
Driving through a storm is just one of the many dangers that severe weather can pose to motorists. Car accidents are always an increased risk during inclement weather. If you’ve been hurt in a car accident recently as a result of another motorist’s irresponsible driving, our attorneys may be able to help.
Read more to learn how our car accident attorneys will fight on your behalf for the maximum compensation from your insurance company. If you are ready to pursue a claim, fill out our free, no-risk case evaluation form today.