How to drive in high rising flood waters, slippery roads - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

How to drive in high rising flood waters, slippery roads


Residents across the South Plains woke up to rain showers Wednesday morning.  For many, the moisture was a welcome sight. However, the rains also made for some difficult driving conditions.  Lubbock Police responded to multiple call of cars that flooded out after going through rising floodwaters.  

According to, all it takes is 12 inches of moving water to sweep a car off of a road.  Not only could a driver be swept away, but they could become stuck or suffer a stalled engine.  However, accidents like that are completely avoidable.

Here are some tips provided by The Weather Channel:

  1. Flash floods can come rapidly and unexpectedly. They can occur within a few minutes or hours of excessive rainfall, or when a dam or levee fails and even a sudden release of water held by an ice or debris jam. Be cautious during storm seasons, or any time that flooding is common in your area. 
  2. You may not have warning that a flash flood is approaching. 
  3. Do not drive unless absolutely necessary. 
  4. Do not drive through flooded areas. If you see a flooded-out road ahead, turn around. Find another route to your destination. 
  5. If there is no other route, get to higher ground and wait for the waters to subside. 
  6. Even if the water appears shallow enough to cross, don't try it. Water hides dips in the road. Worse yet, there may be no road at all under the water. Flooding can scour away the entire road surface and a significant amount of ground beneath. 
  7. If your car stalls, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground. 
  8. Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control or possible stalling. 
  9. One foot of water will float almost many vehicles. 
  10. Two feet of rushing water can sweep away most vehicles - including SUVs and pick-ups. 

Hydroplaning happens when the water in front of your tires builds up faster than your car's weight can push it out of the way. The water pressure causes your car to rise up and slide on a thin layer of water between your tires.

  1. You can prevent skids by driving slowly and carefully, especially on curves. Steer and brake with a light touch. When you need to stop or slow, do not brake hard or lock the wheels and risk a skid. Maintain mild pressure on the brake pedal. 
  2. If you do find yourself in a skid, remain calm, ease your foot off the gas, and carefully steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go. You must be prepared to turn the steering wheel again and again until the front of the vehicle is traveling in a straight line. For cars without anti-lock brakes, avoid using your brakes. If your car has ABS, brake firmly as you steer into the skid. 
  3. Avoid hydroplaning by keeping your tires inflated correctly. Maintain good tire tread. Don't put off replacing worn tires. Slow down when roads are wet, and stay away from puddles. Try to drive in the tire tracks left by the cars in front of you. 
  4. If you find yourself hydroplaning, do not brake or turn suddenly. This could throw your car into a skid. Ease your foot off the gas until the car slows and you can feel the road again. If you need to brake, do it gently with light pumping actions. If your car has anti-lock brakes, then brake normally. The car's computer will automatically pump the brakes much more effectively than a person can do. 
  5. A defensive driver adjusts his or her speed to the wet road conditions in time to avoid having to use any of these measures.

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