In February this year, Huntsville was the wettest month ever recorded, with a total rainfall of 12.6 inches. Severe rainstorms and thunderstorms normally cause flooding during the rainy season. Flash flooding during these times is especially dangerous because it can occur without warning while you are on the roadway.
This makes driving and anything else outside extremely dangerous. Property damage, severe injuries, and drowning are serious threats to your safety, but car wrecks due to flooding are equally as serious. Although there’s no way to have control over flooding and weather conditions, individuals can prepare themselves for the safest driving practices. Doing so may preserve both life and property when flooding occurs.
Types of Flooding
Floods are just behind tornadoes in the top natural disasters that cause the most damage. All types of flooding is dangerous, and each type can pose a unique threat.
- Overbank flooding – Heavy rain or melting snow causes this type of flooding. Then the water within a river overflows its banks and spreads across the land around it. If the area covered is wide and flat, water tends to spread out, move slow, and may not appear to travel at all. In the Midwest, this kind of flooding can take days to dissipate.
- Flash flooding – Slow moving water gives a populated area time to take refuge, however, fast-moving water known as flash flooding is much harder to escape. Water moving at just 10 miles per hour can exert the same amount of force as wind up to 270 miles per hour.
- Ice jam flooding – This type of flooding occurs in cold temperatures when bodies of water are frozen. Heavy precipitation causes chunks of ice to push together and create a dam which creates ice jam flooding. Behind the dam, water begins to pile up, spilling over to the nearby area.
- Coastal flooding – This type of flooding occurs along the edges of oceans, driven by storm surges and wave damage. Hurricanes, tsunamis or tropical storms are major causes of coastal flooding.
Flooding Related Accidents
Studies indicate that the movement of pedestrians and drivers in flooded areas causes about 40% of flooding-related deaths. Flooding might be a natural occurrence, but injury and accidents related to driving and flooding are often completely avoidable. During a flood, drivers and pedestrians must be extremely careful in order to avoid accidents, injuries, and even death. Some of the most skilled drivers are not aware of basic driving precautions during a flood.
- Avoid driving through deep water – Drivers already drive like they are in a hurry, and even more so during a flood. Although you may want to get to your destination as quickly as possible, it is important not to drive through deep water. Driving through pools of water can cause damage that later endangers the driver’s personal safety and the safety of the car. Drivers may not always know when low-lying areas have become deep pools, but whenever possible, avoid driving through a flooded area.
- Drive slowly when slightly flooded – It should be clear to never drive through flooded areas. However, in the event that you get stuck in a flooded area suddenly, consider parking your vehicle on a hill or raised area and calling for help or waiting it out depending on how bad the rain and flooding are. If you absolutely need to continue driving, do your best to drive slowly and follow safety guidelines. This includes not driving at top speeds, this may damage the intake system and ruin the engine.
- Call for emergency assistance – The most important thing you can ever do in a flood is a call for help. In the event that you get stuck in your vehicle during a flood, don’t panic. Immediately, call for emergency help. Specifically, try to call the nearest towing company to help tow the vehicle from the flood zone. The sooner you call for help, the more you’re protecting yourself and others from fatal accidents.
Taking these precautions during a flood could mean the difference between life and death. Don’t hesitate to call for help and drive smart.