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Three Tips for Auto Safety in a Flood

It seems like just yesterday that Tampa was fighting off the rain and suffering through some of the worst floods in years. Those living in lower lying areas of the Bay area know it all too well – flash floods, homes under water, and people trapped in vehicles. Now, residents of southern Illinois and St. Louis are suffering disastrous floods that just keep getting worse. In fact, in some areas entire homes are immersed. While flooding is bad enough, some motorists have been caught off guard by rapidly rising waters or overestimated their vehicle’s capabilities when trying to traverse high waters. This can lead to serious or even deadly auto accidents. To be sure, Tampa–St. Pete residents would do well to consider these three important tips for staying safe when floods come again.

Tip #1 – Plan ahead

If you live in a low area or flood plain, you should know this in advance. Residents in Town ‘n’ Country and similar communities are frequently hit by heavy flooding. Hillsborough County residents can check here to see if their address is in a flood area. If you are in an area frequently hit by flooding, you should keep several cases of water in your garage. One of the first things to go in a flood is power. Ironically, when the neighborhood is under water, you may find that clean drinking water is hard to come by.

As for your automobile, you should keep a serrated pocketknife accessible and a small hammer. It need not be a large one, just a small sturdy metal hammer that can break glass should you ever need to quickly exit your vehicle. The center console is a good place to keep these. If ever caught in a flash flood, you’ll want to be able to quickly get out of your vehicle. The knife can help get you out of your seatbelt if otherwise unable to disengage the lock. Also, trying to unclasp a child’s car seat in a panic will be much easier if you can simply cut the straps and go.

Tip #2 – If the water’s high, don’t try

This may seem straightforward and easy advice, and it is. But every year, people make poor choices and risk driving through heavily flooded roadways. In fact, according to National Weather Service, in 2014 alone, there were 29 vehicle-related fatalities attributed to flooding. The majority of these accidents were preventable. If the water seems high, do not take chances. Find another route, turn around, call your employer and let them know you are trapped. If emergency crews are nearby, ask them about the situation. Often they may have information you do not, such as the depth and whether downed power lines may be under the water posing a threat.

Tip #3 – Avoid driving at night

When flooding hits a neighborhood, people are often caught off guard and find themselves looking for supplies at odd hours. It might be tempting to go out late at night when roads are less crowded. Unless you absolutely must travel, it is best to stay at home or make your way to a flood shelter or safe zone. Too many people have been injured trying to brave the storm, so to speak.

We should keep those who are enduring the floods in the Midwest in our hearts and minds. We should also take precautions and plan ahead to stay safe. Despite the best of intentions, auto accidents still happen on dry land or flooding alike. When they do, a Bradenton auto accident lawyer at the Romero Law Firm is ready to help.

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