When your car is in a flood, it is important to know what you have to do to stay alive. According to reports published by the National Weather Service, almost half of all flood-related deaths occur in vehicles.
However, there is nothing to be gained from panicking. You should first proceed to remove your jacket and outer clothing. Even when the car is submerged deep into the water, you should have enough time to unbuckle your seat belts and escape. You should have at least a minute before the power accessories in your car stop functioning. Hence, you have enough time to unlock the doors or open the windows. If you can´t get the windows to open and need to have the doors unlocked, that will be quite tricky. The pressure of the water needs to be equal both inside and outside of the car. Therefore, you may need to wait till the water level rises to your neck before attempting to open the doors. Sure, it sounds frightening but that is the only way you´ll be able to escape through the doors.
During such situations, not everything may go accordingly and you may have your windows and doors jammed. When that happens, you should attempt to kick a side or rear window. It won´t be easy to do so but that is probably your only shot at survival. Hence, it is important to be prepared for the worst. After all, it is always better to be safe than sorry and if you live in an area that is prone to floods, you shouldn´t leave your home without carrying a small hammer in your car.
If you have the misfortunate of having your car submerged in a torrent of flood, there is a list of things you must be well aware of in order to stop the situation from escalating into something disastrous.
- Firstly, and most importantly, you should, by no means, try to start the car. Attempting to start a car with water in the engine could potentially damage the car extensively. Salt water is known to be detrimental to the components of a car. You also shouldn´t try to start the engine if the air filter has water in it or if the oil is high; you will need to change the fluids and have the water cleared if that´s the case.
- If your car is in a flood, you should ring up your insurance company immediately. Even if your car isn´t insured from flood damage, you can still be covered for replacement and repairs.
- You should check to see how deep your car has submerged under water. You can do so by checking the outline left by the mud and debris. Your car should work fine if the water levels only rise to the bottom of your doors. However, if the water level rises to the bottom of the dashboard, your car will be deemed totaled by the insurance companies and it will probably be damaged beyond repair.
- Although fuel systems on cars manufactured in recent times are mostly sealed, it is not the case for older vehicles. There might be a need for you to have the fuel system drained if you have an older model. Other components that should be thoroughly checked to remove impurities include the clutch, brake, coolant reservoirs, and power steering.
- You must also check the electrical components of the car thoroughly. If you can start the engine of the car, you must pay attention to the turn signals, air conditioning, stereo, headlights, power locks, and interior lights etc. and see if they function fine. While driving the car, should you feel something unfamiliar with the transmission shifts, you should make your way to a repair outlet immediately.
- If the interior of your car is wet because of the water, you should attempt to dry the interior and remove the water immediately. Failure to do so quickly will result in the growth of mold inside the car. It is advisable for you to replace everything wet inside the car including floor mats, door panels, seat padding, carpets, and upholstery. Your insurance should cover most of the aforementioned expenses.
- You should also pay close attention to the tires and wheels of your car and ensure that they are free of lodged debris.
- If you feel that your car is beyond repair or even a borderline case, you should attempt to have it totaled. A car that is damaged in the flood will undoubtedly face numerous problems in the future, and it may be smart money-wise and safety-wise if you push your insurance to declare the car damaged beyond repair.
What you shouldn´t do?
You can increase your chances of survival if you don´t do the following things:
- No matter how important your possessions maybe, it is not as valuable as your life. Hence, don´t waste your time saving those things.
- You shouldn´t panic and waste your energy trying to open the doors without the water pressure being equal both on the outside and inside of the car.
- If you manage to escape from the car, you need to get to higher ground, and by higher ground, we don´t mean the roof of your car. If you stay on the roof of your car, you will be swept away with the car.