By Cars.com EditorsSeptember 6, 2017
About the video
Matt Schmitz with Cars.com goes over the do’s and don’ts for drivers caught in a flash flood in this week’s segment of Driving Smart.
(upbeat music) The devastation left behind by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana won't soon be forgotten.
And the catastrophic flooding caused by the historic storm brings to the forth some important safety practices motorists need to remember in the event you find yourself trapped in your car by rising waters and flash flood. Here are the dos and don'ts for drivers caught in the deluge. Do stay calm. This may seem easier said than done but you'll need your wits about you. Turn on your headlights and hazard lights to make it easier for emergency personnel to see you. Unbuckle your seatbelt. Unlock your doors. Take off your jacket and outer clothing. Lower your window slowly. Most electric windows should work, unless the car is completely submerged in water. If the windows won't open, you'll have to use a door, but you won't be able to open a door until the water pressure is equalized between the outside and inside of the car. This means you'll have to wait for the water to enter the car and fill up to about your neck level. This sounds terrifying but it's the only way the doors will open. Once free swim, to safety and call 911. Don't panic or waste energy trying to open the doors as water pressure will keep them from budging, wait for the pressure to equalize, try to save your possessions, break windows to get out unless as a last resort. If pressure is not equalized, glass will explode inward toward you. Stay with your car once you've escaped. Get to high ground. Return to your car if you think water is going down. Water levels could rise without warning. Just have it towed later. Remember, it's easy to misjudge the depth of water, especially at night. It takes just six inches of water to reach the bottom of most passenger vehicles, causing a loss of control. Even a foot of water is enough to carry away many vehicles and two feet is enough to sweep away a pickup or SUV, and you along with it. (upbeat music continues)