Can You Drive Safely Through Flood Waters?

August 26, 2023
Media Car Accident Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Help Clients Injured in Rain-Related Accidents

With the heavy rainfall in our area during these summer months, there is a high probability of being caught in a flash flood while on the road. There are only a few hazards on the road that are as dangerous as flood waters. Not only can driving through flood waters cause significant damage to your vehicle, but you also put yourself at risk of severe injury or death. 

Many experts agree that the best and safest way to handle a flooded road is to not drive through it at all. Turn around and find another route. However, if you are in a flash flood situation when the water seemingly came out of nowhere, or you have no other choice but to try to drive through, there are essential safety tips you must follow. 

Why Is Driving Through Flood Waters So Dangerous?    

According to the (CDC), flash flooding accounts for about 40 percent of all-natural disasters in the country, causing over 200 deaths yearly. Unfortunately, the majority of these deaths could have been prevented with better flood awareness and practicing safety precautions. 

Flood waters can damage your vehicle, and it does not take much water to render your car immobile. About 6 inches of water can flood your exhaust and cause the engine to stop. Flood waters also hide any hazards on the road, such as debris or sinkholes. Furthermore, several inches of running water can lift your vehicle off the ground, causing you to lose control, and almost 2 feet of water can sweep it away entirely.

Even the slightest bit of water on the road can cause you to get into a car accident. If your car is immobilized and you happen to get out, you run a very high risk of drowning because rushing flood waters are very powerful. Flood waters also can carry diseases and dangerous wildlife. 

What Should You Do if the Road Is Flooded?

If it is unavoidable, there are certain precautions you can take. If barricades or caution signs say the road is flooded, do not attempt to drive through. If you must, approach the waters slowly and carefully and follow these steps: 

  • Be aware: When you enter the waters, do not stop, as doing so will cause the water that was moved away by your car to come rushing back and possibly into your exhaust. This will cause your car to shut down, leaving you in more danger. Pay attention to other cars around you. You may be able to judge the depth of the water by looking at them and how their car reacts to the water. 
  • Stay in the center: The center of the road is most likely the highest point, where the water will be at its shallowest. Take turns with other cars as they go through the water, and position your vehicle in the center of the road. 
  • Minimize engine damage: When driving through the water, you do not want to stop but do not want to speed. Take your time and go slow, giving your tires more grip. Keep your engine rotation low; driving through waters with high rpms increases the engine’s suction power, which can cause irreparable damage.    
  • Keep your distance: If you are behind another car, keep a safe distance between yourself and them, and follow them if possible. The car in front may make the water around your vehicle shallower. Maintain the speed of your car with the speed at which the displaced waves are traveling. 
  • Stay away from moving water: Do not attempt to cross moving water, even if you are driving a car with a high clearance. Standing water can cause your vehicle to float, but it will take a lot. However, you do not need a lot of moving water to sweep your car away. 
  • If you get stuck: If your car stalls in the middle of the water, safely exit your vehicle through the door or window and reach higher ground as fast as possible. Do not try to restart your car, as it will cause further damage to your engine. Call 911 to get help immediately. 

Media Car Accident Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Help Clients Injured in Rain-Related Accidents

Natural disasters like floods can cause even the most experienced driver to act carelessly, putting themselves and others in danger. You may be entitled to compensation if you have been injured because of another driver’s negligent actions. Our Media car accident lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. are here to help. Call us at 610-565-3701 or fill out our online form for an initial consultation. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we proudly serve clients in Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.