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The hidden dangers of flooded roads

On Behalf of | Aug 26, 2020 | Firm News, Motor vehicle accidents |

As late summer storms begin to cross the Midwest, rising water levels present hidden dangers for Indiana residents. Puddles may seem harmless, but standing water can have devastating effects on streets and sidewalks alike.

Particularly, Indiana’s drivers must beware of flooded roads. Often mistaken for a minor inconvenience, rain-flooded streets may hide many road hazards that can total a person’s vehicle or even result in death.

The secret dangers of standing water

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Weather Service (NWS), over half of all flood-related drowning deaths happen when drivers take their cars into unsafe water. The NWS reports that, of 93 flood-related deaths in 2019, 61 included driving.

Flooded roadways may hide the following dangers:

  • Potholes: Water loves to collect in potholes where it can continue to erode the edges away. These potholes are much larger and more fragile than they look and can wreak havoc on a car’s tire and wheel well.
  • Deep water: Floodwaters also collects in the dips of a road, obscuring the hazard completely. Cars that drive through these “puddles” may find several feet of standing water that can immediately drown the engine and potentially total the vehicle.
  • Running water: Many waterlogged streets may hide actively running water. Drivers who decide to push through these roadways may find their vehicles swept away by the current. Even two feet of moving water can sweep away a work truck with a raised chassis and four-wheel drive.
  • Loss of control: Even small puddles can cause a vehicle to “hydroplane” across its surface. As a vehicle’s tires lose connection with the street, drivers can quickly lose control of their vehicle and veer off-road or into oncoming traffic.

Consider the dangers before getting behind the wheel

Few vehicles can safely navigate flooded roads. The best way to avoid these hidden dangers is to not drive during severe storms. Those stuck on the roads should avoid any streets obscured by flooding and pull over to wait. Those involved in an accident during a storm can contact a local lawyer to assess their case and help secure damages.