Driving Through Floodwaters

driving in floodI was watching a short video clip the other day which reminded me of how hard-headed and stupid humans can sometimes get. The video showed a lady driving into an obviously deep flooded road. And as expected, her car’s engine stopped where the floodwaters is about knee-deep.

We have seen this kind of situation time and time again. We know that we should not enter flooded roads, especially deep flooded ones, and yet when we are presented with such a predicament we always think that we can outdo the floodwaters. We usually end up stuck and shouting for help like the lady in the video did.

It is fortunate that there was no strong current at the time the lady got stuck in the flood. Two feet deep floodwaters can float vehicles as large as a bus. And add a strong current like those in flash floods and you’ll end up being dragged for long distances by raging floodwaters. This is precisely the reason why we should never drive through flooded roads.

Moreover, with your car being uncontrollably lead by the current, stepping outside the car would be the best choice but the action does not mean you will be safe. A big man can be knocked down quite easily by just 6 inches of rapidly moving floodwaters, so imagine what floodwaters two feet deep can do to you.

Calm, stagnant floods at the most can kill your engine and at the worst case scenario you will be walking back towards a dry place in knee-deep waters. But, flash floods are a different matter. In fact almost half of flash flood related deaths happen in vehicles.

Some tips to remember

When you’re in your car and have prior knowledge of a potential flash flood along your route or near your present location, it is best to back up or try a different route. Again, never drive through a flooded road or bridge. What you should do is go back and look for another way.

Remember to always stay on high ground. This may be a little difficult especially if you’re in unfamiliar terrain, but try your best to look for routes that go up.

Your car probably has a radio, use it. There are a number of radio stations in that offer weather information including flood updates and news. Keep an ear to flash flood warnings and other news.

In situations where your were able to get out of your car during a flood and the current swept you off your feet, make sure to point your feet downstream and always go over obstacles. Going under obstacle could entangle you resulting to drowning.

And a very important thing, never overestimate your car’s ability to drive through floodwater. Half a foot of floodwater can already reach the bottom of most cars. Just avoid contact with any floodwaters and you and your car will do fine.

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