Turn Around—Don’t Drown: Stay Safe During Winter Storms

By January 7, 2016LACoFD News
Avoid driving through flooded streets. It takes less than 2 feet of water to sweep a car away.

As El Niño brings wet winter storms to the Southland, the Los Angeles County Fire Department reminds residents to avoid driving through floodwaters.

Each year more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm-related disasters. More than half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into rushing water, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  People underestimate the strength of a current; in fact, it takes only two feet of water to sweep away a vehicle.

Flash floods are caused by numerous reasons—not just rain. They can be caused by broken dams and pipes or melting snow. Being prepared and paying attention to warnings and public safety announcements may be the only way to ensure your safety.

Don’t get caught driving in flood waters. Here are some tips to remember if flooding occurs while you’re behind the wheel.

  • Avoid driving through flood waters.
  • Be aware of potential flood-like conditions.
  • Heed “Turn Around—Don’t Drown!” signs from the Federal Highway Administration.
  • Stay away from flood control channels such as catch basins, canyons and natural waterways.
  • If flood water rises around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground.
  • Stay away from flooded areas, even if the water seems to be diminishing.
  • Do not attempt to cross flooded areas and never enter moving water.
  • Know where you’re going if you abandon your car.

Follow these simple tips to help keep you safe, no matter what El Niño brings. For more information, visit www.lacounty.gov/elnino.

Featured photo: Avoid driving through flooded streets. It takes only two feet of water to sweep a car away.