Driving Around Flooded Roadways

Mar 2, 2011

By Staff writer State Farm™ Employee

Think floods are only a risk for homeowners? Think again. Floods are also a hazard to motorists. Many people die each year while attempting to navigate flooded roads.

Here are a few tips to help deal with flooded roadways, and also some ideas on how to handle your vehicle once the waters have receded.

Flooded Roadways

The Federal Alliance For Safe Homes has partnered with the National Weather Service to warn motorists about the dangers of flooded roadways. They recommend the following safety tips:

  • If you can, simply avoid flooded areas especially those with rapid water flow. Keep things safe and simple: reschedule your plans if you're aware of flooding in the area.
  • If flooding occurs when you're on the road, stay on high ground. Experts also advise against driving in deep water, especially when the water could be fast-moving or the depth is not known.
  • If your vehicle stalls, DO NOT attempt to restart it, as your engine may be damaged. Leave it immediately and seek higher ground.
  • Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams and washes, particularly when threatening conditions exist.

After The Deluge

The floodwaters are going down, but your car may have been exposed to the water. Experts say high water can damage vehicles. Here are some tips to help limit the damage to your car after water exposure:

  • DO NOT start a flooded vehicle until it has received a thorough inspection by a qualified mechanic.
  • Record the highest level of water exposure on your flooded vehicle.
  • Contact your agent or insurance company and advise them that your vehicle has been flooded. The sooner the vehicle can be evaluated and dried out, the less damage the vehicle will sustain. If you don't have the right training and personal protective equipment (PPE), it's safer, in most cases, to leave the cleaning up to professionals. Some floodwaters contain raw or untreated sewage and other contaminants that may pose serious health hazards during cleanup. The Centers for Disease Control offers more information on this topic.
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