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How to drive down a flooded street

Hazardous road conditions are a scary thing. Unfortunately, we can’t always prevent them. In the event that you find yourself facing a flooded street, follow these steps to help avoid any safety mishaps.

Flooded roads

Step 1: Depth of the water

Before driving down the street, check the water depth. The Weather Channel states that driving through just six inches of water can cause water to spray up into the engine compartment and make a vehicle stall. One foot of water can cause a vehicle to float and lose contact with the road surface, while two feet of water will sweep a vehicle away! With this in mind, please find an alternate route if you see depths of water greater than six inches.

Step 2: Check your brakes

Another important item to check before driving down a flooded street is your brakes. If your brakes are too wet, they will not work the way you need them to. To check your brakes, find a stretch of road that is not flooded and test them out.

Step 3: Watch for floating Items

The last items to check for before driving down a flooded street are floating objects or downed power lines. If there is a downed power line, the water may have an electrical current in it, meaning that it is not safe for you to drive through. If there is a floating object, it might obstruct your path or damage your vehicle.

Step 4: Drive cautiously

If you do decide to drive down a flooded street, drive with caution and at a low speed. Driving too fast may cause your vehicle to spin out or your engine to become flooded. Driving slowly will reduce the amount of water that sprays up into your car, and you will have more control of your vehicle if something does happen. Also, focus entirely on the road and do not let anything distract you. This includes your cell phone!

Step 5: Emergency

If your vehicle stalls in the water, you may attempt to restart it. However, restarting the car while the engine is flooded out may cause irreparable damage! In this scenario, it may be best get out of your car; search for safe, higher ground; and call for emergency personnel. If the door does not work, crawl out the window if possible. If that is not possible, call for emergency personnel immediately and then ask for help from passing vehicles by waving them down with your arms or coat.

More road emergency tips

How to change a flat tire
Tips for driving in the rain
Be prepared: What to do if you’re stranded

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