February 7, 2023

Driving In Heavy Rainstorms: Road Basic safety Suggestions From Shopper Studies

Motorists need to be extra cautious for the duration of major rains and tropical storms, remaining cautious of possible deep, standing drinking water and other highway dangers.

Additional than fifty percent of flood-related drownings come about when an individual drives into dangerous h2o, according to the Centers for Disease Management and Avoidance and the Nationwide Weather conditions Provider. Flood-associated fatalities differ significantly from 12 months to year, primarily based on weather conditions circumstances. For the past ten years, the average has been 100 deaths for each yr, primarily based on NWS facts.

Just set, change your automobile all-around if you encounter h2o on the street that appears to be like to be 6 inches or deeper—or you can’t even convey to how deep it is. Be especially careful at night time, when it is more difficult to recognize flood hazard.

Even h2o that is 12 inches deep can transfer a compact automobile, and 2 toes of raging water can dislodge and have most automobiles, the NWS claims.

“Deep drinking water is also a menace to vehicles and SUVs, even with their enhanced ground clearance,” suggests John Ibbotson, CR’s main mechanic. “They have the identical vulnerabilities as passenger cars.”

Driving into water on flooded roads can direct to trouble in quite a few methods, suggests Jake Fisher, senior director of car screening at Customer Reports.

“Some motorists can get rid of handle right after hitting a significant water puddle and might strike a tree or become stuck, some may perhaps uncover their car or truck swept absent, and some get trapped when the car’s motor sucks in drinking water and stalls,” Fisher states. “All of these scenarios can leave drivers—and possibly their families—at risk of drowning if the water continues to increase.”

And having caught can put others in peril, primarily unexpected emergency workers who may perhaps need to have to arrive to your support.

People today travel into floodwater for the reason that they often think it’s shallow, states Stephen Hegarty, community information officer for the Tampa, Fla., police department, which has professional lots of of these scenarios.

“People today just consider they will make it to the other aspect, and it truly is a great deal deeper than they imagine,” Hegarty claims. “They really don’t know if the street has worn absent and you should not know what’s underneath the h2o. You will not know if there is a wire down or particles in the street.”

Downed wires can guide to electrocution, Hegarty provides.

“When we have undesirable flooding, particularly a storm with a name, we have to rescue people on a standard foundation,” he suggests. “It can be a respectable disaster.”

Even skilled drivers can be caught in flooding. Houston Law enforcement Sgt. Steve Perez, 60, drowned in the course of Hurricane Harvey in 2017 when he inadvertently drove into floodwaters, town officers mentioned. He experienced worked 34 many years with the division. That was a significantly hazardous yr, with NWS reporting 180 complete flood-linked fatalities in 2017.

Beyond own threat, driving into floodwater also can go away you with a car that is totaled.

“Even if the water is just not around the car’s bumper, it’s probable for water to be sucked into the engine’s consumption and stall or even destroy the motor,” CR’s Fisher suggests.

AAA endorses that any motor vehicle that has been ruined by floods be inspected by a experienced mechanic right before driving. If there is substantial damage, owners devoid of a complete automobile insurance policy will end up obtaining to pay back for a replacement car or truck out of pocket. AAA recommends getting in contact with the insurance business to identify the extent of coverage prior to trying to find repairs.

Approach forward when storms technique. Get to your shelter-in-location area rather than risking driving on flooded roadways. This assists preserve everyone risk-free, and it decreases the stress on crisis crews.


Purchaser Studies is an impartial, nonprofit tests and advocacy group. Because 1936, we have furnished impartial, evidence-dependent information and facts and advocated to guard the rights and security of buyers. Sign up for a free of charge CR e-newsletter to get expert insights sent to your inbox. This report was at first posted by Shopper Reviews on July 9, 2021.