Plan & Prepare
Flood Safety: “Turn Around, Don’t Drown”
(The information on this page is adapted from information provided by the National Weather Service and FEMA).
If You Come To A Flooded Road: "turn Around, Don't Drown."
Each year in America, flooding causes more deaths than any other thunderstorm-related hazard.
Many of these deaths are preventable - but too many people underestimate the force and power of moving water. Too many people ignore the barriers that warn of flooded or dangerous roads.
To stay alive, "Turn Around, Don't Drown." NEVER attempt to cross
floodwater, whether on foot, by swimming, or in a car
Remember: Just six inches of fast-moving floodwater can knock you
off your feet. Two feet of water can sweep an SUV off the
Flash floods can roll boulders, tear out trees, destroy buildings and bridges, and scour out new channels. Flash flood-producing rains can also trigger catastrophic mudslides.
- If you come upon a flowing stream where the water is higher
than your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way.
- Seek higher ground. NEVER try to walk or swim through swift water.
- Children must NEVER play in floodwater! Keep them
away from drainage outlets and storm water retention basins.
- Remember that floodwaters may also cause health hazards
due to contamination or electricity.
- NEVER ignore barriers that warn of flooded or dangerous
- Avoid areas that are already flooded, and areas
that are subject to flooding. Seek higher ground. NEVER
try to drive through swift water.
- The depth of water is not always obvious. The roadbed
may be washed out, leaving a deep pit.
- If your vehicle stalls or is suddenly caught in rising
water, LEAVE IT IMMEDIATELY and seek higher ground.
Many deaths have resulted from attempting to move a stalled
vehicle during a flood.
- Do not park or camp your vehicle along streams and
washes, especially during threatening conditions.
- Be especially cautious at night when it is harder
to recognize flood dangers.
- Quick facts:
- Water weighs 62.4 lbs. per cubic foot and typically flows downstream at 6 to 12 mph.
- When a vehicle stalls in water, the water's momentum is transferred to the car. For each foot water rises, 500 pounds of lateral force are applied to the car.
- But the biggest factor is buoyancy. For each foot that water rises up the side of the car, the car displaces 1500 pounds of water. In effect, the car weighs 1500 lbs. less for each foot water rises.
- Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including SUVs and pickups.
For Further Reading:
- National Weather Service:
- Federal Alliance for Safe Homes: