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Beware the invisible dangers of flooded streets

On Behalf of | Sep 9, 2020 | Motor vehicle crashes

Late summer storms batter the east coast of the U.S. every year. These often violent weather formations dump tons of water on coastal states like New Jersey, causing significant damage to buildings and infrastructure.

Heavy rainfall impairs driving by creating hazardous road conditions. Water can hide dangerous obstacles or debris from view, surprising eager motorists who drive carelessly through flooded waters. Understanding the hidden dangers can help drivers stay safe during stormy weather.

Hazards lie beneath the surface

The latest data from the National Weather Service (NWS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlights the dangers of flooded roadways. Their studies show that over half of all deaths during a flood involve a vehicle. Floods bring a hidden threat to streets where water can pool into dips and potholes that can total a car and cause a driver to lose control. The following tips can help New Jersey drivers better navigate floodwaters and make better driving decisions:

  • Watch for potholes: Rainwater tends to collect in potholes, where the water erodes at the edges, creating a much larger and less stable hazard. Driving a car through a flooded pothole can pop a tire, causing the driver to lose control on a flooded road. Particularly nasty potholes can even damage a wheel well.
  • Beware standing water: Pools of standing water are often deeper than they appear and may contain large chunks of debris that can cause structural damage or injury. Even deep water can instantly flood an engine, totaling the car and sinking the vehicle.
  • Do not enter moving water: Drivers should avoid moving water at all costs, even seemingly harmless runoff. Currents are often more powerful than they initially appear. Just two feet of moving water can send a semi-truck sliding off the road and causing severe damage.
  • Do not hydroplane: Driving into large flat puddles can cause a vehicle to hydroplane. The car’s tires slip across the surface of the pool, preventing the driver from controlling the direction or speed of the vehicle.

Avoid driving during dangerous storms

The best way to avoid the dangers of flooded roads is by staying home during heavy rainfall. Drivers involved in a flood-related accident find more success consulting with a lawyer before filing an insurance claim. An attorney can assess one’s case, recommend courses of available legal action and work with insurance companies on damages.