Floods are extremely dangerous, deceptively so. Statistics show us that floods, especially flash floods, kill more people each year than hurricanes, tornadoes, wind storms or lightning. I'd say that makes it important to recognize the danger and threat floods pose and to know what to do in case of one.
About 60% of all flood deaths are people in vehicles that moving water sweeps away. So be sure to pay attention the material below that discusses what to do when in your vehicle.
Flowing water can be deceptively strong, packing a significant punch no one expects:
- Fresh water moving at only 4 mph, a brisk walking pace, exerts a force of about 66 pounds on each square foot of anything it encounters;
- Double the water speed to 8 mph and the force zooms to about 264 pounds per square foot. That's enough force to punch a car or light truck off a flooded road if the water's up to door level. Imagine what it would do to a person!
Today Show Surviving Dangerous Floods
This report from NBC's Today show is hard to hear at parts due to the mics being used in the river, but it provides some good advice, especially what you shouldn't do.
How To Survive A Flood When You're Trapped In Your Car
Here's a video from Fox News with some good advice:
Drive Safely On Flooded Roads
Every year people lose their lives when they try to drive on flooded roads and their vehicles get washed away. Don't be one of them!
A measly 6 inches (15 cm) of water can cause most cars to lose control and possibly stall. 12 inches (30 cm) of water and most cars will lose traction and float away. Two feet (60 cm) of rushing water and vehicles are at risk of being swept away (even trucks and four-wheel drives). Sure, we have all seen vehicles go through water, but these numbers show that the best course of action is to NOT try to go through water.
There is also the risk of not knowing what is under the water. The pavement might be ripped away leaving a hole that could swallow your vehicle. If you can't see the road surface or its line markings, don't drive on the road!
Best practice? Do not wade or drive into flood water at all.
Travel 911's How to Survive a Flash Flood
Tips For Surviving A Flood from the American Red Cross