How to stay safe on flood-prone roads

How to stay safe on flood-prone roads

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - With heavy rains this week, standing water and flooding can be an issue for drivers.

Nearly 1.2 million traffic crashes occur each year on wet pavement, according to AAA Cincinnati office.

In 2016, rain was a factor in more than 29,000 crashes on Ohio roads, according to AAA, causing 59 deaths and 7,723 injuries.

AAA safety tips for drivers:

  • Buckle up: Make sure the driver and all passengers (including pets!) are properly restrained in a seat belt or car seat prior to traveling. Last year, about 33% of all traffic deaths involved unbuckled drivers and passengers according to the Ohio Department of Public Safety.
  • See and be Seen: Make sure all headlights, tail lights, brake lights and turn signals are properly functioning so other drivers will see you during downpours.  Turn on your headlights whenever you drive in inclement weather.  Ohio law requires, headlights to be used from sunset to sunrise, when wipers are in use, when visibility less than 1000 feet, or in conditions of insufficient light/adverse weather.
  • Slow Down and Leave Room:  Reduce the chance of hydroplaning by slowing down while driving. Also, allow ample stopping distance between cars by increasing following distance of the vehicle in front of you.
  • Avoid Cruise Control: To prevent loss of traction, the driver may need to reduce the car’s speed by lifting off the accelerator, which cannot be accomplished when cruise control is engaged. Avoiding cruise control will allow the driver more options to choose from when responding to a potential loss of traction situation, thus maximizing safety.
  • Responding to a Skid: Do not panic if the vehicle begins to skid. Instead, remain calm and continue to look and steer in the direction you are traveling. In addition, avoid slamming on the brakes as this will further upset the vehicle’s balance and make it harder to control.

Constant rain and storms may also bring flooding, power outages, damages to trees and property.

AAA Insurance experts offer tips on how to deal with aftermath:

Tips on Auto Insurance Claims:

  • Car owners should contact their insurance company to determine the extent of coverage before seeking repairs.
  • Take photographs of any visible damage.
  • Any vehicle sustaining flood damage should be fully inspected before being allowed back on the road. Mechanical components, computer systems, engine, transmission, axles, brake system and fuel system impacted by water contamination may render the vehicle unfit to drive and in many cases vehicles sustaining significant water damage will be determined to be a total loss.
  • Physical damage to a car caused by heavy wind, flooding, or fallen tree limbs is covered under the optional comprehensive portion of an auto policy. If your car is damaged by a fallen tree or limbs, you would need to file a claim using your vehicle policy’s comprehensive coverage. Collision coverage pays for damage to your car resulting from a collision with another car, object or as a result of flipping over.

AAA Tips on Homeowners Insurance Claims:

The first step to recovery is inspecting your home for damage and then notifying your insurance company as soon as possible.

  • Prepare an inventory and take photographs of damaged property.
  • Store undamaged property in a protected place if possible.
  • If carpet is soaked, remove the carpet and the carpet pad.  Keep a two-foot square piece for the claims adjuster.
  • Look for hazards such as broken or leaking gas lines, flooded electrical circuits, submerged furnaces or electrical appliances and damaged sewage systems.
  • Proceed with extreme caution as you inspect your basement. There may be hazards from electrical lines and heating units.  If your basement has flooded, do not pump it out all at once.  Remove about one-third of the water per day.  The wet ground surrounding your basement may cause the floors to buckle and the walls to collapse.
  • Remove contaminated materials from the home. Be aware of exposure to mold.
  • Carpeting, mattresses and upholstered furniture should be disposed of or cleaned and disinfected by a professional cleaner.
  • Cover broken windows and other holes to prevent further damage.
  • Test drywall for moisture softness. If soft, cut holes at base to help dry out.
  • If possible run AC, dehumidifier and fans constantly.
  • If power is out, disconnect all computers and appliances from electrical sources.
  • Open cabinet doors and elevate furniture allowing air to circulate.
  • Save wet books or photo albums by putting them on edge in a frost free freezer.
  • Be present when the adjuster inspects your damage.

AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Ohio.

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