As summer closes on the U.S., Georgian motorists expect some interesting weather. Citizens can feel the impact of coastal storms as far inland as Rome, as high winds and intense rainfall create hazardous driving conditions.

Even veteran drivers can make mistakes on flooded roadways, as standing water can hide surprisingly lethal dangers. The following tips can help drivers stay aware of flooded streets and make smarter driving decisions.

The hidden dangers of flooded roads

When water pools across a road, it conceals a lot of information important to drivers. Dips or speed bumps may become obscured beneath the water. Drivers who push their vehicles through these unknown obstacles may encounter serious hazards that could total their vehicle or cause serious injury. Data from the National Weather Service (NWS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over half of flood deaths involve a motor vehicle.

Drivers who follow these tips can avoid the worst of Georgia’s weather-damaged roads:

  • Avoid water-logged potholes: Regular drivers know how annoying a pothole-filled road can be. Though these Georgians may have mastered navigating these minor hazards, things can change drastically after heavy rainfall. When water collects in potholes, it can quietly erode the bottom and edges, creating a severe threat. Running through one of these flooded potholes can burst a vehicle’s tire or even ruin the wheel well.
  • Do not drive through standing water: Even small, motionless puddles can hide dangerous road conditions. Drivers cannot accurately gauge the depth of these puddles, nor what may lurk beneath the surface. Deep water can flood an engine and total a vehicle, while hidden rocks or debris can cause significant structural damage and a loss of control.
  • Do not drive through moving water: Moving water presents different dangers, as currents can be much more powerful than they appear. A strong current can carry even a semi-truck off the road, sending it into the ditch or oncoming traffic.
  • Watch for hydroplaning: When a car hits the flat surface of a shallow puddle, they risk hydroplaning. The tires fail to garner any traction on the water, sliding the entire vehicle without control.

Find another way through flooded areas

Responsible drivers will not attempt to navigate flooded roads as the risk is too great. Drivers involved in an accident due to flooded roadways may have legal recourse to secure damages. A local attorney familiar with Georgia’s motor vehicle law can assess one’s case, work with insurance companies and draw up settlement paperwork.