Precautions You Should Take When Driving During Floods

*This is an update from September 13, 2013’s Denver Car Accident Lawyers Discuss Precautions for Traveling During Floods.

driving in flooded roads

While flooding can occur anywhere, many residents of Colorado are probably familiar now with the occurrence of a flashflood. Torrential rains, common in the summertime, including late summer/early fall, are something we have all experienced. According to FEMA, flashfloods are the number one weather-related killer in the U.S. and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water. Just recently, residents in Colorado Springs and in Adams County faced flooding mixed with hail. Therefore, I wanted to provide a reminder and what precautions you should take when flooding occurs out on the road.

It is important that motorists educate themselves as much as possible on conditions of the roads between their location and their destination. Some roads may be flooded, while others may be covered in debris, while even more may be completely washed away. Once a clear route has been discovered, travel preparations should be made. In the event of a flashflood other safety tips should be observed.

Flood Safety Tips

First of all, “turn around, don’t drown!” That’s that first thing you should remember when it comes to driving in flooded conditions, but some other helpful tips include:

  • Avoid driving through flood waters on roads or in parking lots. The best plan is to choose a different route.
  • Take extra precaution if you are forced to drive through water (that is if you have no alternate route). This includes: driving slowly and steadily through the water; drive in the middle of the road where water should be at its shallowest; avoid water with downed electrical lines; watch for items traveling downstream; and if you become trapped in rising water, abandon the car.
  • If there is a chance of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. The higher the better.
  • Be aware of your car’s limitations. One of those limitations is your car can stall if water gets into. Driving into water six inches or deeper could cause your car to stall or you could lose control of it.
  • If flood waters rise around your car but the water is not moving, abandon your car and move to higher ground. Do not leave your car and enter moving water. Remember just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and 2 feet can sweep your vehicle away!
  • Don’t sit in the vehicle and let it fill up with water. If water is higher than the bottom of the door, don’t open the door. Use your windows instead. If you have powered windows and they won’t go down, break them.

Additionally, travelers should remember to pack emergency gear in their vehicles, along with their personal items. Extra water and food, along with flashlights, spare batteries, and blankets should be among the items included in emergency kits.

The team here at McDivitt Law Firm hopes you remember to always be safe when out on the roads, and to remember flash floods can come out of nowhere. If that situation arises, remember to stay calm and call 911 if you need to.

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