Tuesday, October 3, 2023


Flash flood safety tips: How to survive a flash flood

By Cheri Sicard
With all the recent flooding going on around the country, the video below from “ABC News” and “Good Morning America” about flash flood safety and how to escape a flash flood seems especially apropos. Do you know what to do should you ever be caught in a flash flood situation on the road or while camping?

If you have ever wondered how to survive a flash flood, be sure to give the video a watch. Each year we see tragic incidents of people being hurt or even drowning in flash floods, but experts say that many of these incidents are preventable and/or survivable.

Nonetheless, an average of 94 people die each year in the U.S. due to flash floods. Half of those fatalities occur when people in vehicles are trying to cross submerged roads. Don’t be one of them!

Water may be deeper than it appears

Even stagnant water can present problems. Because of unseen dips in the road, the water can often be much deeper than it appears. As they say in the video, you can’t tell how deep the water is until it’s too late. To illustrate, they show footage of a car nearly submerged in 8 feet of water.

For the video, they give an actual live demonstration with an automobile in a dry river bed. They then pumped 200 gallons of water a minute into that same river bed in order to simulate the conditions of a flash flood.

Even though there was a safety and rescue team on set, the ABC News team shot this video live in order to show the public that these flash flood survival tips can actually be done in real-time.

They wanted to show the worst that can happen along with basic flash flood safety tips that will help increase your chances of survival should you ever find yourself dealing with a flash flood.

They also show actual news footage of a variety of vehicles being swept away in flash floods. As horrifying as these scenes are, everyone in the clips managed to survive the ordeal.

Flash flood facts

  • It takes only 6 inches of rushing water to knock a person off their feet.
  • At 6 inches of rushing water, the water can be sucked into a car’s tailpipe causing the engine to stall out.
  • Twelve inches of rushing water will carry away most vehicles.
  • For those with larger vehicles, once the water gets halfway up the tires, you’re in serious trouble, and vehicles are prone to float.

Flash flood safety tips

The best flash flood safety tip is not to get caught in one in the first place.

Likewise, you should never attempt to cross a flooded roadway—it is just not worth it. You could get swept away or you could do damage to your vehicle as you really have no way of knowing how deep the water is. You might end up halfway across with a stalled-out vehicle.

Turn around and go back.

How to survive a flash flood

If you are in a vehicle in a flash flood that is filling with water, don’t call 911! Time is of the essence and you need to get out of there and get yourself on the roof.

Watch the video as they show in real time how to do this, but it comes down to three things done as quickly as you are able:

  • Remove your seatbelt.
  • If needed, break the driver’s side window with the headrest.
  • Climb out through the window and onto the roof.

Once you are on the roof, if your vehicle is in danger of being swept away, you are going to need to leave the roof and practice defensive swimming techniques. Again, the video shows you how.

Have you ever experienced a flash flood situation? Tell us about it in the comments below.




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Bob P
29 days ago

As for campers don’t camp in a dry wash, it may look like the perfectly flat spot, but a sudden thunderstorm several miles away could turn that into a raging flash flood 15-20 minutes later.

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