SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Heavy storms are expected to make landfall across the state of Utah this summer. And as plenty of commuters will be out driving in heavy rains, including flooded roads at some point, there are some important safety tips everyone should keep in mind while traveling.
The National Weather Service states it is never safe to drive or walk into flood waters as it takes just 12 inches of rushing water to carry away most cars and just 2 feet of water to carry away SUVs and trucks. Not to mention, driving through standing water can inhibit brakes, cause hydroplaning, and even damage a car’s electrical systems.
Though, for anyone who unexpectedly finds themselves on the road with flood waters, there are several things that drivers can do to ensure a safer commute, according to the Automobile Association (AA).
- Try to avoid standing water if possible
- Don’t drive into flood water that’s moving or more than 4 inches deep and let approaching cars pass first
- Drive slowly and steadily so you don’t make a bow wave
- Keep the car moving and be sure to avoid any stalling
- Test your brakes as soon as possible afterward
- If you get stuck in flood water, wait in the car and call for help
For heavy rain conditions on the road, other important safety tips are:
- Keep headlights turned on
- Use fog lights if needed, but switch them off once visibility improves
- Leave twice as much space between you and the vehicle in front
- If steering feels light due to hydroplaning, ease off the accelerator and slow down gradually
- In case your vehicle breaks down, don’t lift the hood while rain continues as wet electrical systems can make it harder to start the engine
If leaving the vehicle is absolutely necessary, some tips to keep in mind include:
- Look out for slip and trip hazards under the water
- Be aware that maintenance hole covers can get lifted and moved
- Watch water levels closely as they can quickly change
- Assume that flood water is contaminated
Before making any commute, it’s crucial to understand the local weather forecast and how it can affect your safety. To view an updated map on changing weather conditions, visit the National Weather Service website or the Utah 4Warn Weather page.