Floods—particularly flash floods—are the number two weather hazard that residents in Middle Tennessee face just behind tornadoes.
Per a report by WKRN.com, flash floods are extremely dangerous for drivers as they combine the destructive power of water with speed and unpredictability. A meteorologist who works with the National Weather Service told reporters that flash flooding is a huge threat to drivers in Middle Tennessee.
She said that terrain plays a major factor in the severity of floods, as steep hills and mountains have fast runoffs, which can lead to fast rising water on roads. Unfortunately, some drivers find themselves in dangerous situations when they drive into floodwater, especially if they don’t know how deep it is.
Flash floods can cause fatalities in as little as six to 10 inches of water, as that’s the minimum amount required to cause an automobile to be washed away. She said that many drivers are aware of the risks but think that an emergency will never happen to them due to driving on roads with standing water in the past.
The National Weather Service says that there have been 64 flood-related deaths in Tennessee during the past 30 years.
What Should You Do if You Get Caught in a Flood?
Getting caught in a flood in your vehicle can be a frightening experience, but it’s important to remain calm. Panicking may cause you to make decisions that could further increase the danger you and your loved ones are facing.
To decrease your risks, do your best to follow these steps:
- Call 911 immediately.
Tell the dispatcher where you are and what your emergency is. Stay on the line and provide as much information as possible, including whether other vehicles are caught in the flood waters, how fast the water is moving, and how deep it is. You should also describe your vehicle in case it gets submerged by rising water.
- Turn on your headlights and hazard lights.
It can be difficult for emergency responders to locate vehicles that are in flood water, especially if the emergencies occur during a heavy downpour. Turning on your headlights and hazard lights will make it easier for rescuers to find you and will also make it easier for you to see the area near your vehicle if you need to escape.
- Exit your vehicle if you can safely do so.
Although you may feel safer in your vehicle, there’s always a chance that flood waters will continue to rise. If your vehicle is stuck in standing or slow-moving water, help your loved ones get out and go to higher ground immediately. Don’t waste time collecting possessions, as doing so can put you in danger.
- Exit through your window and wait on the roof as a last resort.
In some cases, flood waters rise so fast that people can’t safely exit their vehicles or safely stay inside of them. If that’s the case, roll down your window and try to get on the roof of your vehicle. Use that vantage point to reach higher ground or wait for emergency responders to reach your location.
At Matt Hardin Law, our Nashville auto accident attorneys know that being caught in a flood can be a traumatic experience for drivers and their families. That’s why it’s important to slow down and be cautious when driving during or after rainfall and to have an emergency plan prepared in case your vehicle is ever surrounded by fast moving and rising water.
Weather-related phenomenon can be dangerous, but the biggest threat for drivers is other motorists. If you or someone you know was injured in a crash caused by a negligent motorist, you may be eligible to pursue a claim for compensation. Get in touch with our legal team today to find out your options for getting money for accident-related expenses like medical bills and lost wages. Just dial (615) 200-1111 or complete a free online consultation form.