Watch where you drive!

In the United States, most of the people who died in floods died while attempting to drive a car across a flooded area. It's a common mistake to make because a vehicle is very heavy, and drivers needing to get somewhere were tempted to take a chance, especially if they had successfully driven over a few inches of water elsewhere. But a heavy vehicle is not heavy when submerged in water, because its apparent weight decreases proportionately to the amount of water it displaces.

Water with a smooth surface is not necessarily still; it may be flowing swiftly underneath. Much more important is to realize that waters flowing across a roadway may have undermined--or completely washed away--the roadbed and, even though the road may look like it's still intact, below the surface of the water, there may be a deep gully eroded away by the flood waters.

Despite the "macho" commercials on television describing all the great things that your favorite truck or SUV can do, if the water submerges your vehicle to a depth of 1.5 feet and is flowing, your vehicle becomes light enough that it can be swept away. Visit our video gallery for more flood footage.

photo of truck stuck in flood
This is why it's a bad idea to drive through flooded streets.