GALVESTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 12: Vehicles flooded by the tidal surge from Hurricane Ike sit along a street September 12, 2008 in Galveston, Texas. The eye of the hurricane is expected to make landfall at Galveston Island early Saturday morning. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Photo: Scott Olson
Photo: Scott Olson

It's flooding and you're behind the wheel. What do you do?

Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm-related hazard, according to the National Weather Service.

It’s important not to underestimate the force of powerful, rising water, especially in areas prone to flooding.

The NWS says many drowning deaths occur during bad floods when vehicles are swept downstream.

Drivers should never ignore the warning barriers during floods.

Here are some tips from the NWS that could save your life next time you’re behind the wheel and the roads are flooded.

  • Get to higher ground. Get out of areas subject to flooding. This includes dips, low spots, canyons, washes etc.
  • Avoid areas already flooded, especially if the water is flowing fast. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams. 
  • Road beds may be washed out under floodwaters. Never drive through flooded roadways. If your vehicle is suddenly caught in rising water, leave it immediately and seek higher ground.
  • Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams and washes, particularly during threatening conditions.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.

National Weather Service data also shows:

  • Nearly half of all flash flood fatalities are vehicle-related,
  • The majority of victims are males, and
  • Flood deaths affect all age groups.
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