Storm season in Idaho, often results in flooded roadways. While these conditions are inconvenient and can delay your schedule, that’s no excuse to try to drive through a flooded street. It’s better to stay at home and miss a meeting than to experience some of the consequences of choosing to leave before the storm has passed.
Extensive Vehicle Damage
Your vehicle was not made to drive through deep water. If you drive on flooded roads, your car may never be the same afterward. There are several common problems that occur when a vehicle is flooded:
Flood damage can cost you a lot in repairs or total your car altogether. While it’s possible that a great mechanic can fix what is wrong with the engine and certified water restoration experts can get the funky smell out of your upholstery, it makes more sense to just avoid the problem in the first place by staying off the road or choosing a safer route.
When a roadway is blocked by flooding, the water is often murky. This means you can’t see what’s happening beneath the surface of the puddle. It’s difficult to gauge just how deep the standing water on a flooded street is, even if you try to use the curb or other signposts as clues. Floodwater can quickly cause damage to the road, resulting in cracks or sinkholes that make the stream flowing across it deeper than it appears.
Another potential risk hidden from sight is all the debris that washes into the road during a storm. It’s unlikely that the only thing blocking your path is water. Tree limbs, rocks, and other obstructions are probably in the flooded road as well, making navigation even more treacherous. Rather than taking a chance on a street with standing water, tune in to travel tips on the radio to find a better path to your destination.
Loss of Control
The biggest hazard of driving on flooded roads is the possibility of losing control of your vehicle. If the engine seizes up and stalls, you may not even be able to steer it to the side of the road before it stops working completely. You then have to wait for someone to tow your vehicle out of harm’s way, hoping that no one else loses control and crashes into it in the meantime.
If the floodwater is both deep and fast, it can carry large objects, such as your vehicle, with it. You may not be able to get your door open to escape, which leaves you trapped in a moving car that you can’t steer, going whichever direction the flood takes you. No one wants to be in a position with such an uncertain outcome.
There’s never a good reason to drive through a flooded street. If you must get on the road, choose a route with adequate drainage or higher elevation so that you can safely get where you need to go. If no such route exists, it’s better to wait out the storm than face the peril of the flood.