With the massive flooding that has occurred throughout much of the United States this summer, it is a good time to learn how to safely navigate floodwaters in a motor vehicle. The Public Affairs Office of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has provided a number of safety tips to remember when encountering rising waters while driving ().
Flooding causes nearly 100 deaths a year in the U.S., more than any other severe weather-related disaster. The majority of these deaths result from motorists attempting to drive their vehicles through flooded roadways.
A mere 12 to 18 inches of flowing water is enough to carry away most motor vehicles, even large SUVs. If you encounter a road covered with water, you will have no way of knowing the depth of the water or the condition of the ground underwater, especially at night.
Whenever you’re driving and come to a flooded road, play it smart and play it safe. FEMA recommends the following tips to keep you safe while driving during flooding:
- Plan ahead. Monitor the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s All-Hazards Radio or other weather news source for information and updates.
- If flooding is anticipated, move to higher ground immediately. Do not remain in typical flood areas such as ditches, ravines, and canyons.
- Avoid areas that are already flooded, especially if the water is moving quickly. Never attempt to cross roads with flowing water. The underlying road beds may be washed out.
- Do not camp or park your vehicle near rivers, streams or other bodies of water when severe weather is imminent.
- Exercise extra caution at night, when poor visibility makes it impossible to assess the depth and speed of floodwaters.
- Do not cross barriers that have been placed by local emergency officials. Not only will you jeopardize your own safety, but many states and communities impose harsh fines on drivers who ignore barricades or other road closures.
- Turn Around, Don’t Drown.
Visit for additional weather safety resources and for the most recent weather forecast information. If you have been injured in an automobile accident, whether through flooding or otherwise, please contact Shamberg, Johnson & Bergman for a free consultation. We will only receive a fee in the event of a successful resolution of your case.