Even though you might hear more reports of floods during hurricane season, these dangerous events can occur at any time of the year. Anyone out driving when it happens is vulnerable to getting stuck, injured, or worse.
The National Weather Service and the CDC claim that more than 50 percent of flood-related drownings happen when motorists drive into hazardous water. People often underestimate the water’s depth and think they can safely cross over. Drivers can end up getting stranded, losing control and causing an accident, or even get swept away when the water is moving quickly.
Those are not the only risks of getting caught in flood water. Vehicles can hydroplane and crash into trees, poles, or other cars, they can also get pushed into ditches. Besides that, there could be debris or downed wires, and the latter could cause electrocution. Even if you are unharmed, your vehicle could be damaged beyond repair.
The National Weather Service makes some important points about not driving in flood waters:
Listen to weather reports when storms are predicted, and stay away from areas that are already flooded or prone to flooding. Never drive through flowing streams or flooded roadways, and avoid parking your vehicle next to streams and other bodies of water. Be extra careful at night because it is much harder to see flood dangers.
Getting caught in flood waters can be frightening, but it is important to stay calm and remember to slow down and not slam on your brakes. Take a deep breath and stay in the middle of the road, where the water tends to be the shallowest. If you see that the water has risen up above the center of your wheels, you may want to coast to a stop. The water only needs to be about ½ inch or higher for drivers to lose control.
It is also best to keep the vehicle in a low gear as you navigate the water. For automatic transmissions, stay in first or second by keeping one foot on the gas and applying the brake to regulate the speed. You can also keep the brakes dry by tapping lightly on the pedal while driving.
You might not be the only one driving through flood waters, and splashes from other cars and trucks can make the situation even more stressful. Instead of passing, maintain a single lane and follow at a safe distance. The vehicle in front of you can actually help move water away so you will have a bit more traction.
Avoiding flood waters is the best advice. If you end up getting into a crash because of flood conditions and/or another driver’s negligence, it may be time to contact an experienced car accident lawyer.
If you need legal help after a weather-related accident, you can contact one of our knowledgeable Wilmington car accident lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. We are located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware and serve clients in Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County. Call us at 302-656-5445 or complete our online form for a free consultation.