Monday, December 23, 2013

Have you ever tried to drive through a flood?

Have you ever tried to drive through a flood?

I hope not, and I hope you never have to, because it can be a nail-biting experience that often goes wrong. In fact, there's a whole section on YouTube under the heading "Flood Driving Fail" that'll have you shaking your head.

The trouble is that most of us are ill-prepared for encountering a flood. They don’t teach you what to do in Driver's Ed, and Nature has a particularly nasty habit of turning it on when you're not ready or in a hurry.

So, here are the basic rules:

  • First, if you know there's a flood risk on your route, don’t go unless your journey is essential.
  • If you have to drive through a flood, take the crown, or highest point, usually the center of the highway. If there's someone coming the other way, don’t enter. Let them through.
  • A general rule for maximum depth of water you can drive a sedan through reasonable safely is six inches or just four inches if it's flowing. Even SUVs and trucks can only go slightly above this. Flowing water that's just nine inches deep is enough to float and move a car.
  • Approach it at a snail's pace and accelerate to just 5 mph once your auto is in the water. Don't go any faster because of the risk of aquaplaning -- and don’t stop till you're out.
  • Apply the brakes gently, several times, after you get out, to dry them.
If your car is damaged by a flood, don’t try to restart it. Get it towed and professionally inspected.

At this point you should notify us or your insurer and follow their instructions.

Low level trim damage can be dried out by leaving doors and windows open but if the substructure, engine and electricals are damaged they may need to be repaired and reinspected for rust and other deterioration.

The point at which a flooded car is considered totaled varies by insurer but certainly if water has reached dashboard height it will probably be written off. The insurance company may want to inspect it or get a professional opinion first.

You may be wondering if your auto insurance policy will cover you for flooding. Most likely it will because it's included in comprehensive coverage. In other words, you don’t need to have collision coverage to be protected against flood damage.

But if you'd like to confirm this or have any other questions, please call us. Drive safely!

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