In recent days, flooding in the Midwest and South has claimed the lives of at least nine people and closed hundreds of roads. Rain-drenched Missouri has bore the brunt of the flood damage, with authorities scrambling to prevent the breach of local levees and to oversee evacuations.
Fleet drivers in all states need to be informed about the dangers of flash floods. More people are killed by flooding, on average, than any other single severe weather hazard, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Here are tips from the NOAA you can pass along to fleet drivers as a friendly reminder:
- Do not drive onto a flooded roadway.
- Do not drive through flowing water.
- If you approach a roadway that is flooded, turn around – don’t drown.
- Drive with extreme caution if roads are even just wet or it's raining. You can lose control of your vehicle if hydroplaning occurs. This is when a layer of water builds up between your tires and the road, resulting in no direct contact between your vehicle and the road.
If a Flash Flood Warning is issued for your area…
- If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. Act quickly to save yourself — you may not have much time.
- Get out of areas subject to flooding and move to a safe area before access is cut off by floodwaters. Low spots such as dips, canyons and washes are not the places you want to be during flooding.
- Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams and washes, particularly during threatening conditions.
- Stay off the roads if possible. If driving is necessary, do not attempt to drive over a flooded road since the depth of the water is not always obvious and the roadway may no longer be intact under the water.
- Never drive around a barricade. They are placed there for your protection. If your vehicle stalls, leave it immediately and move to higher ground before water sweeps you and your vehicle away.
- Do not try to walk, swim or play in flood water. You may not be able to determine if there are holes or submerged debris, or how quickly the water is flowing, and you may be swept away. If water is moving swiftly, as little as 6 inches of water can knock you off your feet. There is also a danger of hazardous materials polluting the water. Also, remember that water is an electrical conductor. If power lines are down, there is a possibility of electrocution.
- Continue to monitor the situation through media updates.