What to do if your vehicle is stuck in flood waters

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ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Flooding is the second leading cause of weather-related fatalities in the United States, surpassed only by excessive heat.

According to the National Weather Service, a majority of these flood-related deaths are a result of driving through floodwaters.

Caption: 2019 U.S. Flood Fatalities; Activity of Victim (Courtesy: NOAA/National Weather Service)

Driving through flooded roadways is high discouraged. Just six inches of moving water can knock a person down, and one foot of moving water can sweep many vehicles away. Two feet of water can sweep away larger vehicles, such as SUVs and pickup trucks.

However, accidents and unexpected situations can occur.

If you find yourself trapped in flood waters, here are some tips to follow:

  • Remain as calm as possible. You’ll need to think clearly and quickly during this situation.
  • Turn your headlights and hazards on. This will help first responders to locate you.
  • If flood waters rise around your car, but the water is not moving, abandon the car and move to higher ground. Do not leave the car when moving water is around your vehicle. The water may sweep you away.
  • Lower your window slowly. Most electric windows should work unless the car is completely submerged in water. Breaking your car side windows should only be used as a last resort.
  • If you can lower the windows, climb out. Get to high ground and call 911.

To find more flood safety tips and learn about different types of flooding, click here.

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