Driving on flooded roads

Driving on flooded roads

Water is very dangerous to vehicles, and in more ways than one. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), it only takes 6 inches of water to cause your car to stall, and just a foot of water can float a 1,500-pound vehicle. Plus, it can cause damage to the engine, the brake rotors, and power steering, and it can short circuit electrical components. 

The dangers of driving on flooded roads

According to FEMA, just a little bit of water can cause big problems.

  • Two feet of water can carry most vehicles including SUVs and pickups.
  • Underpasses can fill up very quickly, putting you in 5–6 feet of water.
  • The vehicle’s computers, located under the seats, control everything from the engine to the steering and braking. If flood water gets to the computer, it can cause critical damage, leaving the car stranded.
  • Driving in flood waters may cause your vehicle’s engine to take in water through the air return and severely damage the engine.

Staying safe

Here are some guidelines on staying safe when roads could be flooded.

  • Don’t walk or drive into a flooded areas. Instead find an alternate route. It’s hard to tell how deep water is merely by looking at it.
  • When driving at night, it can be hard to tell how flooded roads really are so be extra cautious.
  • Flooding can also compromise the integrity of a road. Recently flooded roads may have structural issues and could damage your vehicle. If a flood warning is issued, stay away from areas that are known to flood. FEMA provides flood maps so you can keep track of flood risks for your specific area.
  • Sign up for the Emergency Alert System (EAS). It’s also handy to have an National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio to get real-time emergency alerts.

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The information included here was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, however Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company and its employees make no guarantee of results and assume no liability in connection with any training, materials, suggestions or information provided. It is the user’s responsibility to confirm compliance with any applicable local, state or federal regulations. Information obtained from or via Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company should not be used as the basis for legal advice or other advice.