At Accident and Injury Chiropractic, our hearts go out to all the people affected by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. Though we are not in the direct path of hurricanes here in North Texas, we do sometimes experience heavy rain and flooded roadways. Because we focus on treating injuries from car accidents at A & I, we want to remind you of the potential risks for injury and even death when driving in flooded areas.
You may have seen footage of a driver trying to drive down a flooded road during Hurricane Harvey. He underestimated the depth of the water and was lucky to escape with his life. Afterwards, he said he was highly embarrassed that he had made such an unwise decision. We all need to know how to make wise decisions when confronted by water on our roadways.
First, when you come upon a flooded roadway that is blocked by a barricade, do not drive past the barrier under any circumstances. It is there because the road is not safe for travel. Though the water may look shallow enough to cross, there is no way to know how deep standing water is by just looking at it. In addition, the water may be hiding holes and other hazards.
If you come upon a flooded roadway that is not blocked by a barricade, do not drive on it unless you know for certain how deep the water is and that the road is safe. Rushing water on road surfaces can create holes and depressions and even collapse it, and you may be deceived by a puddle that appears to be only a few inches deep. Rushing water can also cause vehicles to float and carry them away. A car can be swept off the road in as little as 12 inches of moving water.
If you must drive on a flooded roadway, first make certain the water is not in contact with downed power lines. Water is an excellent conductor of electricity, and you could be electrocuted. Watch other cars to determine how deep the water is. Check for debris and look for items that might be heading into your path that could trap or crush you. Drive slowly and steadily, stay off the phone, and avoid all other forms of distraction. It is very important for you to maintain awareness of everything in your surroundings.
Driving through deep water can cause your engine to stall. If that happens, get out of the car and make your way to safety. If you can’t do so and must try to restart it, be aware that doing so can cause permanent damage to your engine. (In addition, if your parked car has been submerged in water, a qualified mechanic should check it before you attempt to start it.)
Once you make it safely through the water, check your breaks to be sure they are still working. Water that reaches up to the wheel rims or higher can affect your rotors and drums and hinder their ability to work properly. You can dry them by gently pressing on the brake pedal with your left foot while maintaining speed with your right foot.
If you do ever become trapped in your car surrounded by rising water, try to open the door or roll down the window to get out of it and head for higher ground. If you can’t do so, call 911 and look for others around you that can help you.
We hope you stay safe on our roads, and if you do get in an accident, come to the nearest Accident and Injury Chiropractic office ASAP. We’ll take great care of you and have you driving safely again before you know it.