With the recent record rainfalls experienced in the Denver area, many people are facing significant flooding for the first time. A flash flood is something that can develop quickly and unexpectedly. And more than half of all people killed in floods are in vehicles. They make the poor decision to drive down the flooded road either because the vehicle in front of them makes it or because they think the water doesn’t look too deep.
NOAA warns that you should never drive into water covering the road. You don’t know how deep it is, or if the road is washed out. It only takes 18 inches of water to lift your car or SUV. Once your vehicle becomes buoyant; the water will easily push it sideways. Most vehicles will then tend to roll over, trapping those inside and washing them downstream.
If you are driving and the road has water over it, then “Turn Around – Don’t Drown”. If you must walk or drive in areas that have been flooded, stay on firm ground. Moving water only 6 inches deep can sweep you off your feet.
Remember that standing water may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines. Floodwaters often erode roads and walkways, so familiar places may have changed. Flood debris may hide animals and dangerous obstacles, and it’s also slippery. Avoid walking or driving through it. Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
Plan ahead by assembling a safety kit for evacuations and know the high roadways in your area for a safe escape.