Avoid Flooded Roadways Because Of Increased Risk of Car Accidents
In Whatcom County, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on reports of flooding in certain areas from mid-fall through mid-spring. This is because when it rains a lot, rivers, creeks and ponds can overflow onto the roadways. Drivers should avoid any flooded roads if at all possible because driving through a flooded area impacts the operation of your vehicle and increases your risk of being in a car accident.
According to national data from floodsafety.com, flooding is the most common natural disaster. Flash flooding is particularly dangerous and accounts for 200 deaths every year, making it the leading cause of weather-related deaths in the United States. Fifty percent of these deaths are vehicle related.
How does flooding increase risk of car accidents?
Flooding makes it more difficult to drive, delays travel time and increases the risk of accidents. Drivers must adjust their driving behavior and decisions in order to drive safely. Here are several ways that flooding makes driving more difficult:
- Increased pavement friction
- Decreased visibility distance
- Lane obstructions
- Hampered traffic flow because of decreased roadway capacity
According to data from the Road Weather Management Program, the issues created by weather conditions including floods and heavy rainfall is the cause of almost 1,312,000 motor vehicle accidents every year.
Flooding in the Pacific Northwest
In the Pacific Northwest flash flooding is almost always caused by a severe rain or thunderstorm. Winter is a very wet season here so the chances are high that drivers and pedestrians may be stuck wading through deep puddles and flooding on some streets. When water gets deep enough it can seep into vehicles, causing them to stall and get stuck. When this happens, emergency crews begin getting calls about stranded vehicles and impassable roads.
Read this list from myferndalenews.com from earlier this week that identifies several roadways covered in water and debris. They should be avoided if at all possible.
How to drive safely through a flash flood
If you have to drive through a flooded area, the best way to stay safe is to slow down and drive on the edge of the water in an effort to avoid the deep center of a puddle.
Speeding through a deep puddle makes a wave that causes water to shoot up, which risks water getting into the vehicle’s intake system and engine. A flooded engine can get hydro-locked, which can kill a motor and cost thousands to replace. A less expensive but still annoying reason to avoid driving fast through deep water is because the force of the water created by driving through it too quickly can rip pieces of protective shielding off the bottom of the vehicle.
Sports cars or modified vehicles should be especially careful in flooded areas as they may have very low air intakes near the front bumper.
If your car stalls in deep water, turn on your hazard lights and call a tow truck. It’s not time to panic yet; you may just need to let the ignition dry out. Once the vehicle arrives at the shop, ask the mechanic to check for a wet ignition before starting any work.
Seek the help of a car accident attorney
If you or a loved one is suffering from an injury as a result of an accident or error caused by the negligence of another, you have enough on your plate. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the personal injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!