Many motorists don't think twice about driving through water-covered roads, mistakenly believing that their vehicle is too heavy to be swept away. But when your car battles running water, the water almost always wins.
"The weight of the car always loses. The water pressure will take the car. The car is normally going to float from the unibody construction these day. They'll tend to float up, and then you lose your point of gravity with your tires on the road, and the car will just wash off," said Capt. Ted Lovett, EMS Coordinator .
When a car is trapped in running water, the momentum from the water is transferred to the car. Each foot of water displaces, or essentially subtracts, 1,500 pounds from your car's weight. This means that your car is not nearly as heavy as you thought it was.
So how much water is dangerous? The average car weighs between 1,500 and 2,000 pounds. It could take as little as six inches for you to lose control of all that weight, and find yourself in trouble.
"Try to avoid going through the low spots. If it's low, try to find a different route because you don't know how deep it is. You don't know what's washed out. If you can't see what you're driving through, don't drive through it," said Lovett.
But even during flash flooding, it seems like someone always tries to drive through a flooded area. If you find yourself in that situation, there are some important things to do that could save your life.
"If, in case, you get submerged and water is coming up over the car window, do not try to kick the car window out. Try to roll the window down. If you can't roll the window down, carry what they call a life hammer, or something. Try to break the window and get out that way," said Lovett.