Flash Flooding on the Road

Protect yourself from a flash flood by staying alert, making smart decisions and driving carefully.
Meredith Terpstra

Between rain, snow, and ice, as well as Minnesota’s rivers and 10,000 lakes, the state is very susceptible to flash flooding. It’s important to know how to avoid getting caught in one and what to do if you are.

What to do During a Flash Flood

Turn Around

Never drive through standing or running flood water on roadways or parking lots.

  • Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control and potential stalling.
  • One foot of water will float many vehicles.
  • Two feet of rushing water will carry away most vehicles including SUVs and pickups.

Drive Smart

If you must drive through water:

  • Drive slowly and steadily and check your brakes often.
  • Turn on your hazards when driving through deep water.
  • Avoid downed electric and power lines.
  • Watch for items traveling downstream that could trap you.

Get out of Your Car ASAP

While it’s dangerous to be in flood waters, it is more dangerous to remain in a submerging car. If your car is submerging, take off your seatbelt and try to escape through a window (roll it down or break with a tool). Once you’re out of the car, move to the roof of the car or higher ground.

Don’t Panic

If you can’t break the window, wait for the car to fill with water while keeping your hands securely on the door handle. When the car is almost full, take a deep breath, open the door and swim to the surface.

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