Flood Driving Safety Tips

Flooding is a natural part of many areas in and around Chicago and its suburbs. How you react to a flooding situation may determine whether or not you get through the experience unscathed.

Many times, people find themselves in vehicles during a flood. They may be trying to get out of their neighborhoods to safety or they might be driving in the midst of a rainstorm that turned into a flooded roadway. If you find yourself in this type of situation, you need to keep a cool head. Floodwaters can rise quickly and move heavy cars and trucks aside like toys. We’ve all seen videos showing just how much force is behind water.

To protect yourself and others in your vehicle, be sure to take the following flood driving tips into consideration:

  • Never knowingly drive into water that seems deep. Many drivers get stranded every year because they assume they can “power through” deep standing or rushing water. Only one foot of water can move a smaller car and two feet of water can push enormous vehicles onto their sides. It’s better to stop your car or turn around and look for roads that aren’t flooded.
  • If your vehicle is unable to move at all, stop the engine. Don’t try to get out unless the water is standing still and you feel you can wade or swim to safety. In the case of moving water, your objective should be to stay with the car. Just six inches to one foot of swiftly rushing water can knock you off your feet and make it nearly impossible to stay above the waves.
  • Hear that a flood is coming? Planning to leave your home? Do it sooner rather than waiting until the last minute. Too often, homeowners resist leaving because they hope for the best. By the time they realize they need to go, the roads may be blocked or clogged with other drivers. Yes, it’s a hassle to evacuate — especially if you have to stay at a hotel for the night or have pets that must also be removed — yet it’s the wisest thing you can do.
  • Planning to head near a creek or river? Be sure heavy rainfall isn’t in the forecast. Low-lying areas habitually flood, and that can leave you and your vehicle vulnerable. Stick with higher ground at all times and be aware of rain predictions for the upcoming hours and days you’ll be camping, playing or hiking in low-lying places.

Still not sure what to do in the case of a flood in terms of your home? Start planning today. Have a flood evacuation method in mind and implement flood safety practice drills with your family. That way, you’ll be ready for anything in an emergency flood situation.

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