Flash floods can happen with little to no warning, making them especially dangerous for drivers. In fact, flash floods are one of the leading causes of weather-related deaths in the United States. The danger lies in the fact that water can quickly rise to a depth of several feet, sweeping away vehicles and drowning occupants.
Many people make the mistake of taking their chance in low level floods , thinking their vehicle will be fine. But just a few inches of water flowing perpendicular to your car is enough to sweep your car.
Let us look at some real life examples of what happens when you try to drive through moving water.
This video shows that just 6 to 10 inches of water easily stall your average car. The water in the video is not even moving but you can see that smaller cars are stalling in it.
6 to 12 inches of water can easily sweep away a small family car and in some cases even a SUV.
This video is from China and it shows that 12 to 24 inches of water can easily float a small car. Once your car starts floating, you know it is too late. Remember that cars are not meant to float and flash floods move downstream. If you are in a floating car then you need to get out of the car as soon as possible. We`ll do a separate post on how to escape from a car.
About 4 feet of water is a death sentence, does not matter what type of vehicle you are in. 4×4 or even a monster truck. 4 feet of water will sweep anything away.
What to do if you are in a car and come across a flash flood?
These videos show that it is extremely dangerous to drive in flash floods. Water is very powerful and can quickly rise to depths of several feet, making it easy to sweep away vehicles. If you find yourself in a situation where there is water on the road, the best thing to do is to turn around and find an alternate route or just stay where you are till the water levels go down. It is not worth risking your life to try and drive through moving water.