Several parts of the country -- including Maryland, the Alabama Coast and the Florida Panhandle -- saw severe flash flooding last week. Now is a good time to remind your drivers of what steps they can take to stay safe during flash flood conditions.
Here are some tips from the National Disaster Education Coalition:
- Avoid already flooded areas and areas subject to sudden flooding. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams. Most flood fatalities are caused by people attempting to drive through water, or people playing in high water. The depth of water is not always obvious. The roadbed may be washed out under the water, and you could be stranded or trapped. Also, standing water may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines. Rapidly rising water may stall the engine, engulf the vehicle and its occupants, and sweep them away. Look out for flooding at highway dips, bridges and low areas. Two feet of water will carry away most vehicles, including SUVs and pickup trucks.
- Stay away from underpasses. Underpasses can fill rapidly with water while the adjacent roadway remains clear. Driving into an underpass can quickly put you in 5 to 6 feet of water.
- Turn around and find another route if you come upon rapidly rising water. Move to higher ground away from rivers, streams, creeks and storm drains. If flood waters or barricades block your usual route, find another route. Local officials put up barricades to protect people from unsafe roads. Driving around them can be a serious risk.
- Abandon your vehicle immediately and climb to higher ground if the vehicle becomes surrounded by water or the engine stalls, and if you can safely get out. When a vehicle stalls in the water, the water's momentum is transferred to the car. The lateral force of a foot of water moving at 10 miles per hour is about 500 pounds on the average vehicle. The greatest effect is buoyancy -- for every foot that water rises up the side of a car, it displaces 1,500 pounds of the car's weight. So, 2 feet of water moving at 10 miles per hour will float virtually any car, SUV or pickup truck. Use caution when abandoning your vehicle, and look for an opportunity to move away quickly and safely to higher ground.
To watch a video on the subject, click on the link or photo above.