Flooding is one of Florida’s most common hazards on the road. Between hurricanes, tropical storms and excessive rainfall, flooding is a coast-to-coast threat in the Sunshine State year-road. When people encounter water on the road, they often try to drive through it, believing it isn’t deep or dangerous. However, according to the CDC, more than half of flood-related drownings occur when a person goes into hazardous water.
If you come across standing water while driving, keep in mind that even water that is one foot deep can move a small car – and two feet can move and carry most vehicles. In addition to endangering yourself and others’ lives, driving through water can also irreparably damage your car’s engine.
3 Tips for driving through floodwater on the road
You should avoid driving through water on the road at all costs. However, if you find yourself in a scenario where going through standing water is absolutely necessary, here are a few best driving practices to help you get across safely:
1. Drive down the center
During severe flood conditions, don’t worry too much about the existing lanes painted on the road. In most cases, the shallowest area of water is at the center of the road.
2. Only cross in shallow water
While you can’t always tell how deep the water is from inside your vehicle, a good rule of thumb is never to try to drive across water that is above the center of your wheels – including puddles. Moving across water that’s just over one-half inch at any speed can cause your car to hydroplane.
3. Drive slowly
If you must drive through water, you must take things slow to avoid flooding your engine. Enter the water at speeds as low as 1 to 5 mph and don’t try to speed across.
When it comes to floodwater on the road, the safest option is to turn around and avoid driving through it. If driving through water is unavoidable, take the necessary precautions to ensure you and your vehicle emerge on the other side safely.