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Safety tips for driving in a flash flood

June is the first month of hurricane season, which means more dangerous driving conditions are in store for Texas drivers. Because of this, it's important for drivers to take the appropriate safety measures and adapt their driving to road conditions. If a someone does not adapt to hazards like rain, wet pavement or flash flooding and an accident occurs, they may be held accountable for negligent driving.

According to the National Weather Service, flash floods are the number one cause of weather-related deaths in the U.S. If you find yourself driving in a flash flood, keep the following safety tips in mind and remember: a vehicle can be replaced, but a life cannot.

Why does hydroplaning happen?

Many Texas drivers have experienced hydroplaning when their vehicle skids or slides across a wet or flooded road. Hydroplaning is a major contributor to accidents that occur in the rain or during a flood. If you find yourself hydroplaning or sliding it's important to take the right actions to safely regain control of your vehicle:

  1. Keep the steering wheel steady. Avoid sudden turns.
  2. Avoid sudden breaking as well. If you must break, pump the break pedal.
  3. Reduce pressure on the gas pedal until the hydroplaning stops. 
  4. If you begin to skid out, you will need to turn into the skid. Therefore, if your car skids to the right, turn right instead of left. Straighten out as you gain control.

Never drive in an area that's flooded

The last thing any driver wants is to be trapped or swept away in their car. The rule of thumb is not to drive in an area where the water is too deep for you to see the painted markings on the road. Many drivers mistakenly think they can navigate through a flooded road because they don't understand the serious risks:

  • The road underneath may be damaged: Water can cause significant damage to a road in a short period of time. If you can't see the road beneath the water, it may be broken up or washed away.
  • Water can stall your car: Around six inches of standing water is enough to reach the bottom of most cars, which can cause serious damage to a vehicle's electrical system.
  • A car is easily swept away: Just two feet of rushing water can sweep away vehicles as large as an SUV or pickup truck.

As the hurricane season brings more rainfall and flooding to Texas, drivers should be on alert for dangerous road conditions. Although the weather plays an important factor in accidents that occur during a flood, it's important to understand that drivers are still responsible for the decisions they make.

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