Flooding can happen anytime, anywhere. Some areas are far more likely to flood, like those near bodies of water. However, small sections of roads can flood during a heavy rainfall, especially if drainage systems aren’t working properly. Now that hurricane season is in full swing, with a number of severe storms already wreaking havoc, it’s important to consider just how dangerous driving through flood water really is.
The bottom line is that it’s never safe to drive through flood water. There are a variety of risks involved, both to the car itself and the people inside:
- Even if you’re driving a truck or an SUV, chances are the water is still too deep for you to drive through. Engines can stall out in as little as six inches of water causing significant damage to your vehicle.
- When there is risk of flash flooding, what starts as a small puddle can become a much larger problem very quickly. Don’t take any chances.
- Road surfaces can be washed away more easily than you think in a flood. It may look like the water isn’t very deep, but if the road has been washed away, you won’t be able to see it.
- Dips in the road can create an area where the water is deeper than expected. You may be able to start driving through an area of flooding, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get all the way through.
- If the flood water is moving, do not attempt to drive through it. Your car can be lifted and swept away and there won’t be anything you can do.
- Flood water can be very hazardous to your health. It can carry bacteria, chemicals, human waste, and other contaminants. You can also find snakes, alligators, fire ants, and other creatures in the water.
- Water in your car’s air intake can ruin it. Even a small amount is enough to destroy your engine. If your car stalls, don’t attempt to restart it or you risk additional damage.
- If you do drive through water, be sure to check your brakes. Wet brakes don’t function as they should, making stopping more difficult. Pumping your brakes not only tests them, but also helps dry them out.
It’s best not to take any chances with flood water. Changing your route to avoid it completely is always your best option.
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