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Safety Tips for Driving Through and Avoiding Floodwater

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Stay safe when driving through or near flooded roads this summer.

Indiana Flood Relief Efforts

Summer can trigger extreme damp or drought conditions. If you happen to live in the northeast and mid-Atlantic regions of the U.S., you’ve likely experienced some flash floods this past week. Here are some tips for staying safe during flash floods this summer.


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Floodwater facts

First, it’s important to understand the unique risk that floodwaters pose to drivers. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), just 12 inches of rushing water can carry off a small car. Additionally, two feet of rushing water can sweep away most vehicles.

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Heed the signs

If driving or thinking about driving during flash flood conditions, look out for warning signs. If you see a yellow warning sign that says “when flooded turn around don’t drown,” be prepared to slow down or stop. A pink incident sign indicates a particularly serious high-water area, such as an accident. According to NWS, it’s “deployed in response to short-term events which impede the normal flow of traffic such as accidents, natural disasters, hazardous material spills, or other unplanned incidents.”

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Safe strategies to implement

Here are some practical actions to take to protect you and your passengers from the hazards of flood waters, as AccuWeather contributor Amanda Schmidt articulated.

  1. Follow the National Weather Service (NWS) campaign adage, Turn Around Don’t Drown®.
  2. Don’t park along rivers, streams and creeks during heavy rainfall.
  3. If there’s a risk of flash floods in your area, move to higher ground ASAP.
  4. Don’t drive over bridges that are over fast-moving floodwaters, in case the structure is unstable due to the flash flood conditions.
  5. If floodwaters rise around your car but the water is not moving, abandon the car and move to higher ground.

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News Sources: AccuWeather, NBC NewsNational Weather Service