Spring is a time of high flooding potential, when frequent rain is common for many parts of the country. When flooding affects roads and highways, motorists can place themselves in a lot of danger if they aren't careful. A car's high-tech gadgetry and even its size and weight don't protect the driver from the dangers of flooding.
The Hazards of Flowing Water
It's very common for people to underestimate the power of flowing water. Flowing water has three properties that every motorist should appreciate:
- Water has the power to lift your car up off the ground through the force of buoyancy. Most of the volume of your car is empty space, which means a small car will float in water that is only six inches deep.
- Flowing water packs a lot of punch. The reason tsunami waves easily knock down buildings is that water is heavy. When water is flowing at eight miles per hour and is up to your door, it will easily push your car off the road.
- Flowing water can rapidly erode through soil and pavement. Flood waters moving over a road can wash away the pavement or erode through the soil underneath, causing the road surface to collapse. This can happen in the span of minutes. Driving through flowing water that isn't deep enough to make your car float away means you may be driving over a surface with no pavement or with hidden debris or holes.
The Hazards of Standing Water
Spring melt often clogs up road drains with debris. Without working drains, a road can become inundated with puddles. Shallow puddles are harmless unless you drive through them at a high speed. Loss of control through hydroplaning causes serious accidents every year. In deeper puddles, there is the possibility of water splashing into the air intakes of your engine. A cupful of water drawn into the combustion chamber can damage your engine.
- When reaching water that is flowing over the road, try to find an alternate route.
- Don't cross water that is more than four inches deep. If you cannot determine its depth, don't cross.
- Slow down when crossing shallow standing water.
- If you see downed power lines in a flooded area, turn around.
- Dry out wet brakes by lightly applying the brakes while maintaining your speed.
The only sure protection from the dangers of flooded roads is exercising caution and good judgment on your part. Follow the above tips and remember that the lost time from seeking an alternate route is more than worth the potential consequences of driving through a flooded out road.
Remember, safety first while driving. Call Low Rate Insurance Agency at (817) 635-0375 for more information on Grand Prairie auto insurance.