Advice for Driving in Flood Conditions

Police are urging motorists to use precaution when navigating the streets.

In 2001, record rainfall turned a Tallahassee street into a raging river trapping an FSU student inside his submerged car while it traveled a mile down a storm drain, ultimately killing the young man.

Despite the tragedy, downpours don't discourage drivers from driving down Franklin Boulevard, a street notorious for flooding. Businesses along Franklin Boulevard say watching cars attempt to cross the wet road is a common sight.

"When it rains really hard several cars try to cross,” comments resident David Butler.

Yet, when wet weather washes away roads, turn around, don't risk it. The City of Tallahassee is setting up barricades along Franklin Boulevard to pull out in case flooding occurs.

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Driving In the Rain Safety Tips

Skidding

  • You can prevent skids by driving slowly and carefully, especially on curves.

  • Steer and brake with a light touch.

  • When you need to stop or slow, do not brake hard or lock the wheels and risk a skid. Maintain mild pressure on the brake pedal.

  • If you do find yourself in a skid, remain calm, ease your foot off the gas, and carefully steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go.

  • For cars without anti-lock brakes, avoid using your brakes. This procedure, known as "steering into the skid," will bring the back end of your car in line with the front. If your car has ABS, brake firmly as you "steer into the skid."

Hydroplaning

  • Hydroplaning happens when the water in front of your tires builds up faster than your car's weight can push it out of the way.

  • The water pressure causes your car to rise up and slide on a thin layer of water between your tires and the road. At this point, your car can be completely out of contact with the road, and you are in danger of skidding or drifting out of your lane, or even off the road.

  • To avoid hydroplaning, keep your tires properly inflated, maintain good tread on your tires and replace them when necessary, slow down when roads are wet, and stay away from puddles. Try to drive in the tire tracks left by the cars in front of you.

  • If you find yourself hydroplaning, do not brake or turn suddenly. This could throw your car into a skid.

  • If you need to brake, do it gently with light pumping actions. If your car has anti-lock brakes, then brake normally; the car's computer will mimic a pumping action, when necessary.

Source: www.nsc.org (National Safety Council Web site) contributed to this report.


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