As the long summer days grow shorter, seasonal storms come to Georgia. These massive, often tropical, storm systems wreak havoc on Georgia’s coastal cities and reach farther inland. Heavy rains affect roadways as far west as Atlanta, Rome and Cedartown, creating hazardous road conditions for Georgian motorists.
Ignoring the hazards that may hide beneath a seemingly harmless puddle can damage one’s vehicle, flood the engine, or total it. The following safety tips can help motorists drive safely through heavy rainfall and flooding.
Standing water or hidden danger?
Heavy rainwater and flooding cause incredible damage to the American way of life. Standing and running water can erode compromised infrastructure, turning small potholes into collapsed roadways. Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Weather Service (NWS) indicate that over half of all drowning deaths during a flood involve driving. In 2019, 61 of the 93 people who died during a flood were in a vehicle.
Driving through puddles or standing water over a dip in the road may seem harmless, but can reveal road hazards obscured by the water’s surface:
- Potholes: Most drivers avoid potholes, knowing the danger these sudden drops can cause to a vehicle’s tires or undercarriage. During floods, potholes are the first to fill, often hiding a deeper or wider pothole than anticipated. Hitting one of these potholes at anything less than a slow crawl can blow out a tire and destroy the wheel well.
- Loss of control: When a vehicle hits moving water, its tires can slide across the water’s surface in an uncontrollable movement. Even veteran drivers lose control in these hydroplaning situations, causing accidents and injury.
- Running water: Smart drivers will avoid any running water on a road. Deceptively strong, these waters can push motorcycles, cars and work trucks down its current.
- Deep water: Deep dips in the road collect water quite easily. Pooled water can make a sudden dip in the street appear safe and flat. When drivers attempt to navigate the pool, their vehicle may sink or strike a hidden object beneath the surface. Avoid these areas altogether.
Avoiding flooded streets to stay safe
As seasonal storms come to Georgia, motorists can take extra precautions while driving to keep themselves and others safe. Drivers injured in a flood-related accident can reach out to a local attorney to assess their case and work with insurance companies to secure coverage.