Q What is the best way to drive across a flooded road?
Too many drivers assume that rain is only dangerous during a storm, but it’s important to remember that many days of heavy rain can also cause flooding. During the summer months, sewers and drains can easily become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of rainwater—and constant storms have often caused the Whippany River to flood and break free of its banks.
Before you attempt to drive through a flooded stretch of road, remember these dos and dont’s:
- DO try to find a way around – Any other road that isn’t flooded will be a better option. If there is another route available, always take it.
- DO measure the depth – Your car can stall if water enters the tailpipe, which is roughly six inches off the ground. If the depth is six inches or higher, turn around and find an alternate route.
- DON’T take the road for granted – Flood water can conceal uneven road surfaces or debris, so don’t assume your path will be straight and clear.
- DON’T speed – Too many people try to hurry through flood waters, increasing the risk of losing control or becoming caught in a current. Always drive through the water very slowly in a low gear, revving the engine occasionally to clear water from the exhaust pipe.
- DON’T drive through flowing water – If the water is flowing rather than standing, DO NOT drive through it. The current may be stronger than your engine can handle, and your vehicle can easily be swept away or overturn, trapping you and your passengers upside-down in the water.
- DO be prepared for quick thinking – If the water gets deeper, your car may start to float, losing contact with the roadway. Opening one of the doors will weigh down the car and allow you to keep going, but you face increased risk of stalling. Make sure you—or a passenger—has a phone out ready to call 911 at a moment’s notice.
- DO test your brakes when you reach the other side – Even if you make it safely across, the water may still have affected the engine. Test all your systems, especially the brakes, to make sure your car is functional.
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