We have certainly had our share of rain-soaked days in the mid-Atlantic region lately, and flooded waterways, roads and homes are the result. Local flooding happens when rainwater accumulates faster than it can either be carried away or absorbed by the soil. Once the ground becomes saturated, then prolonged rain falling over several consecutive days or intense rain falling over even a short period of time, will typically overflow rivers and streams onto the surrounding area.
Flash Flood Driving Risk
When a very large amount of rainfall occurs quickly as in a downpour or a string of thunderstorms brings repeated heavy rainfall to an area, flash flooding can occur with rapid overflow making roads impassable and dangerous. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn us to “Turn Around – Don’t Drown” since over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water.
Driver Safety Tips If Flooding Occurs
- If you find your vehicle suddenly surrounded by rushing water, exit immediately, being careful where you step as you head for higher ground.
- Never drive over downed power lines or drive through puddles that are in contact with such a line. Electrical current could be transmitted through the water and be potentially fatal even if you don’t touch the line itself.
- Always obey barricades and signs that warn of road flooding. Even if the water looks shallow enough to cross, don't attempt it. Even a puddle that appears only a couple inches deep can be much deeper and can hide major road hazards like washed-out sections and holes in the road.
- If you see flooding on the road ahead, don’t proceed. Turn around immediately and take a different road to reach your destination. Rushing water could cause your vehicle to float and perhaps even be carried away. As little as just 12 inches of rushing water can carry away most cars.
- If you cannot avoid driving through deep puddles, then be sure to test your brake function immediately afterwards to be sure that you can stop your vehicle.
Flood Waters Will Damage Your Car
So it stands to reason that one significant threat resulting from flooding is damage to your vehicle – whether from driving through high water or parked in standing water.
Depending on the circumstances and amount of exposure to the flood waters, your vehicle could incur even major damage such as failure of the electronics and computer system, drive train, transmission, brakes and even the air bags. If you escape major damage, exposure to this type of water will likely lead to rusting, corrosion, mold or complete loss of part of your car’s interior. One other concern, of course, is the car’s overall condition which could affect ongoing performance and even resale value.
Auto Insurance Tip
Long before you find yourself in a potential flooding situation with your vehicle, you will want to know that you have insurance to cover the damages. Ask your insurance agent about comprehensive coverage and what options you might have to protect yourself well in advance. You don’t want to be worrying about these things when the water starts to rise.
Here at Ewing, Hines & Associates in Kensington MD, our very knowledgeable agents have the experience to assist you with any insurance needs. Before you find yourself driving in high water, be sure to contact us to check on your auto insurance coverage. We can answer your questions, refer you to other resources, offer a no-obligation policy review and discuss your options.