News & Events

With the recent (and on-going) destruction related to Hurricane Sandy, many people who decided not to follow mandatory evacuation orders have found themselves in difficult if not deadly situations. Devastating winds, flying debris and, perhaps the most dangerous, rising flood waters. One common mistake that people make is attempting to drive their vehicle through these rising flood waters. With the unpredictable weather here in Texas, and several coastal communities such as Corpus Christi and Galveston, most Texans have at one time or another driven through high water during a flash flood, tropical storm or even a hurricane. Sure, we like our big trucks in Texas but even trucks are susceptible to the power of rising flood waters. You’ve also probably heard the National Weather Service’s public service slogan: “turn around, don’t drown,” but at what point does driving your vehicle through flood waters actually become dangerous?

According to the Department of Transportation, nearly half of all flood fatalities occur inside a motor vehicle. With floods presenting one of the largest and most common hazards to drivers in the United States, here is some helpful information from the Texas Driver Handbook about the effect of water on your vehicle and your ability to drive:

  • Only 6 inches of water is enough to reach the bottom of most cars. This can cause you to lose control of the vehicle and possibly stall your engine.
  • 12 inches of water is enough to make most cars float!
  • 2 feet of rushing water is powerful enough to lift and carry away trucks, suvs, and most other vehicles.
  • Two fee of rushing water will carry away pick-up trucks, SUVs, and most other vehicles.
  • Water can conceal weakened or collapsed roadways and bridges, sometimes causing these structures to collapse under the weight of an unsuspecting driver’s vehicle.

The National Weather Service warns that if your vehicle becomes stalled in rising floodwater, get out quickly and move to higher ground. The best option is to turn around and drive the other way whenever
you see water on the road. Saving your life is as simple as choosing an alternate route.

For more information on “Turn Around, Don’t Drown,” visit or on Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH), visit