Flood safety tips on the road

Published: Jul. 31, 2022 at 3:06 PM EDT
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BLUEFIELD, W.Va. (WVVA) - The number of flash flood fatalities increases each year, especially on the road.

It’s easy to underestimate a flood, but water is a powerful force. After just a few hours of heavy rainfall, flash flooding can become a prominent hazard in residential areas. Parking lots and roads create runoff that can overflow the natural or man-made drainage systems in place. Rushing water can cause mudslides, or even cause the road itself to wash away.

If you have ever gotten caught driving in a storm, you may have experienced another dangerous phenomenon- hydroplaning. Hydroplaning occurs when the tires on your car cannot disperse the water on the road quickly enough and begin to lose contact with the road. Keeping your tires at the proper air pressure minimizes the risk of hydroplaning, but if it occurs don’t panic- lightly pump the break and steer with small movements in the direction you need to go.

It’s important to be aware of all of your surroundings, as it’s nearly impossible to guess the true depth of standing floodwater, and heavy rainfall can rapidly overflow creeks and rivers. Remember, just a foot of water is enough to float most vehicles and two feet of rushing water is enough to carry away most SUV’s and pick-ups.

So if you see signs of flooding- turn around, don’t drown!

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