When Flash Floods Strike

16 October 2015 - By Eugene Herbert

Hi Folks…

Summer is here and
while we look forward with keen anticipation to the relief the summer rains
will bring, we also anticipate that problems will evidence themselves,
particularly when we have a “cloud burst”.

The tips listed below
were certainly of value with the recent ‘flash floods’ experienced by South
Carolina and North Carolina   residents in the  USA where no
less than the lives of at least five people were lost due to flooding.

TV footage of some
dramatic rescues provided a reminder of how dangerously powerful floodwaters
can become during heavy rainfall. Now is a good time to remind drivers that
flash flooding can occur with little, if any, advance notice. Drivers need to
take the proper precautions before and during such emergency conditions.

Here are some tips from
a road safety perspective:

> 
 
In heavy rain, reduce speed and leave more space between you and
the vehicle in front to account for greater stopping distances.

> 
 
Look out for trucks or fast-moving vehicles creating spray, which
reduces visibility.

> 
 
Driving too fast through standing water could lead to tyres
losing contact with the road surface. If there is a sudden “lightness” in
steering you could be aquaplaning, also known as hydroplaning. To regain grip,
ease off the accelerator, do not brake, and allow your speed to drop until you
gain full control of the steering again.

> 
 
Do not attempt to drive through water if you are unsure of the
depth – in suburban roads look to the side as the edge of the pavement is a
good indicator.  On country roads this may not be possible.

> 
 
Never attempt to drive through fast flowing water – your vehicle
could easily get swept away.

> 
 
If your vehicle becomes submerged, first of all stay
calm. Remain buckled in your seat. If the water is substantially deep, the
car should remain afloat 30 to 60 seconds -- long enough for you to escape.

> 
 
In this situation, many people believe if they are wearing a seat
belt they will not be able to unbuckle it and will be trapped in the vehicle. Not
true!!! A seatbelt is designed for quick release, and without it there is
nothing to hold you in place, nothing to keep your head from slamming into the
steering wheel or dashboard. (Hitting water at speed is the same as hitting a
wall.) If you were knocked unconscious, you would be helpless. You wouldn’t
have a chance to save yourself, let alone help anyone else. If you and any
passengers are wearing seatbelts, chances of survival are much greater.

> 
  
Immediately unlock the doors and open the windows. Your
car’s power accessories should continue working for at least a minute or so.

> 
  
Unbuckle your seat belt (and those of children or other
riders who need assistance) and exit through the open windows, swimming to
safety in the direction of the current if you’re in deep water.

> 
  
If the windows won’t open, try kicking out a side or rear
window, though it won’t be easy.

> 
  
You may want to think about carrying a small hammer or car
window-breaking tool like a spring punch or hammer in the cubby hole for this
purpose.

> 
  
If you can’t leave via a window and water is entering the
cabin, wait until the pressure is equalized on both sides of the door (usually
when it’s as deep inside as it is outside) before attempting to open it.

VIDEO:
Turn Around, Don’t Drown

These tips are of
course far from “perfect” but are useful guides for inexperienced drivers. That
said one should never ever land up in that situation in the first place –
prevention is better than cure.

Till next time – Enjoy
the rain but be warned, water can be dangerous to drivers.


Eugene Herbert



Other Articles

  • Culture drives policy

  • Strict speed enforcement detrimental to safety?

  • Dodge the pothole

  • Speed doesn’t cause crashes ?

  • Avoiding a rear-end collision

  • Seatbelt check list

  • Passengers put your feet up…or not

  • The ripple effect of your driving behaviour

  • Consequences of drinking and driving

  • Driving tired – the dangers!

  • Driving in work zones

  • Driving after dark

  • Tips: Fake phones for driver safety?

  • Do drivers know how to keep a safe following distance?

  • Study reveals women are the angriest drivers

  • Driving With a Pet in the Vehicle

  • Keys Left in Vehicles Spurring More Thefts

  • Public Protector

  • The Risks of Eating and Driving

  • Cognitive Psychology and Vehicle Speed

  • Animal Collisions

  • Young Drivers Over-Estimate Their Abilities

  • Driving for Better Business

  • Parallel Parking No Fuss, No Drama

  • Profiling Driver Risk

  • Back-to-School Driving Advice

  • Drowsy Driving Persists as Fatal Crash Cause

  • Tailgating

  • How you drive reveals a lot about your personality

  • Understanding the Zipper Merge

  • Prevalence of Self-Reported Aggressive Driving Behaviour

  • Warning: Pokemon Go, Another Distraction…

  • Are parents negatively impacting learner drivers?

  • How fast are your reactions?

  • Self-Driving Cars Raise Ethical Issues

  • Multi-Tasking In The Car - A Myth

  • Driving After Dark

  • Airtravel vs. Road use

  • How to Conduct Efficient Vehicle Inspections

  • The Three Life-Saving Questions

  • How to Prevent Rear-End Collisions

  • Driving with limited visibility

  • Look twice for motocycles

  • Keeping Your Children Safe From Distracted Driving Crashes

  • Crash & Collision Causes Revealed

  • Being Driving Focussed

  • Distracted Driving fuels insurance rate hikes

  • Adjusting to the time change

  • Pothole Definition

  • Buckling up in the back seat

  • Weather-related Traffic Deaths - What studies show...

  • Reversing Tips

  • Elements of a safety program

  • One-In-Seven Suffer Memory Gaps When Driving

  • NTSB Most Critical

  • Will self-driving cars allow for drinking and driving?

  • The Impact of Fossil Fuels

  • Driver Safety 101

  • Head Restraints Cut Injuries by 11%

  • Traffic Fatalities Up in First Half of 2015

  • Car Lock-in "Heads Up"

  • Is drunk driving OK when the alternative may be worse?

  • Distracted Driving Detection Technology

  • Driver Distractions Extend 27 Seconds beyond Act

  • Drunk Driving - South Africa rated the worst

  • When Flash Floods Strike

  • What to watch out for on Rural Roads

  • Self-Parking Technology Avoided

  • Are you and your family breaking the law?

  • Work Related Driving Time

  • Safety near Bicyclist

  • Human Error

  • Aircon Saves Fuel

  • Fuel Prices Down - Efficient Driving Still Needed

  • Managing Space & Time for Safe Driving

  • Driverless Cars

  • 7 Tips for Curbing Distracted Driving

  • Parental Role Modelling

  • Braced for Impact

  • 7 Advances in Automotive Safety Technology That Could Save Your Life

  • 8 out 10 Drivers Exceed Factory Posted Fuel Consumption Figures

  • Driving into the sunset isn't always Romantic

  • Do you know your drivers? Do they know you?

  • Study: 25% of Cars Create Most Air Pollution

  • Hands-Free Infotainment Isnt Risk Free, Safety Council Warns

  • Ten Things All Car Drivers Should Know About Motorcycles

  • Legislation Update: Baby seats

  • Female Drivers More Likely to Use Cell Phones

  • Roundabouts Safer for Older Drivers

  • Unpacking the Ministers Collision

  • Dealing with the Aftermath of Potholes

  • How to Avoid Parking Lot Crashes

  • Mobile Pone Distraction set to become Biggest Kllre on British Roads by 2015

  • Light Commercial Vehicles can be Low on Safety

  • Saving lives: Improved vehicle designs bring down death rates

  • China To Improve Road Safety To Protect Lives

  • Top Ten Tips To Stay Within The Limit

  • Dealing with Agressive Driving

  • Top 10 Accident Prone Professions

  • National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

  • Maintaining Perspective - Deaths by Terrorism in 2013

  • Where Drivers Dont Mean To Speed

  • Circles, Circles and more circles

  • Calm your Driving

  • Sharing the Highway with Heavy Trucks

  • Pedestrian Safety

  • Abuse of Cell Phones Taken More Seriously

  • 5 Steps to Keep your Child Safe

  • Driving While Medicated

  • Hands On Steering

  • Scanning the Road

  • Prevent being blinded by Sun Glare

  • Link Discovered Between Driver Obesity & Crash Risk

  • A Third of Young Drivers Admit Taking 'Selfies' at the Wheel

  • How to Prevent 'UFO's' in your Vehicle