It takes just 12 inches of rushing water to carry away most cars, and just two feet of rushing water can carry away SUVs and trucks, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Floods are the most common, most destructive natural hazard on earth. Follow these tips to prepare for rising water and stay safe during a flash flood:
Avoid flooded areas
The NOAA says Turn Around, Don’t Drown. If you’re driving and you approach a flooded area, do your best to find an alternate route. Do not drive through flowing water that could potentially sweep your vehicle away. Even if the water depth seems low, don’t risk getting caught up in the flow of the water. Find another way to your destination.
Slamming on the breaks in the rain will likely send your vehicle into hydroplane. If you’re tailgating another vehicle, you put them at risk of getting into an accident. Follow the three-second distance rule to avoid an accident in rough weather. When the roads are slick, or starting to flood, brakes need more time to work properly.
Wipers on, headlights on
Keep in mind that this is the law. If your windshield wipers are on, then your headlights must also be on. When driving through heavy rain, it’s hard enough to see but if your headlights aren’t on, it makes it hard for other drivers to see you as well.
Abandon your vehicle
If your vehicle starts to become surrounded by water and stalls, abandon it immediately and get to higher ground. Floodwaters can rise at a rapid speed and sweep a vehicle and its occupants away. After you leave your vehicle, do your best to stay out of the flooding zones and out of the water completely. It only takes six inches of water to knock down and sweep away and fully-grown adult, says the NOAA.
Buy fuel before the storm hits
Keep in mind that services such as roadside assistance, repairs and gas stations may be restricted or delayed during and after a severe weather event. Fuel stations may be unavailable or out of fuel.
Follow your company’s fleet policy
As a fleet driver, it’s important to follow your company’s natural disaster policy. Use company standard reporting process should your vehicle sustain any storm or flood damage.
For more fleet safety tips, visit Element’s Tips and Advice page.