Mosaic Insurance Alliance, LLC.
The Pacific Northwest has already broken some rain records in 2021 for Seattle, Hoquiam, and Olympia. Ongoing rain and flooding in Western Washington is a high possibility for the next few months. Home damages, business building damages, and deadly car accidents increase in probability with more rain. Mosaic Insurance Alliance in Lynnwood, WA reminds the public of important driving safety precautions.
On average, flooding in the United States causes $3.5 billion in damages and 128 deaths per year according to Northwest River Forecast Center. Daily driving, traffic, long commutes, hills, and water accumulation are common in Washington and can put civilians at risk on the road, at home, and at their business. Drivers need to eliminate distractions, pay attention to weather and road conditions, and be educated on what to do when driving in the rain.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that over half of flood-related drowning is due to driving in flooded water, so flooded roads should be avoided. In deep water, drivers can easily miss important road conditions like potholes. Also, the weight of the vehicle and the water could collapse the road, which is also why drivers need to be extremely cautious of bridges and overpasses. If a driver encounters a road with standing water and there is no way out but to drive through it, they need to first take note on how deep it is (i.e., what types of cars are making it through?). Then, as they slowly drive, they need to look for things floating in the water. Hitting something can jerk steering, get a car stuck, or damage something important like a tire. Additionally, to avoid buildup that happens in outer lanes and road edges, drivers should drive in the center of the road if safely possible. If a driver encounters other cars, they need to drive with them to avoid splashing. Once out of the water, drivers need to test their brakes. If their car is not stopping correctly, drivers should maintain a consistent slow speed and pump their brakes gently to try and dry them. Wet brakes do not stop a car properly and can cause a serious and deadly road accident. If a car gets stuck and passengers are trapped with the water rising, they need to abandon their car and go for higher ground. If doors won’t open, passengers might have to roll down or break windows. Calling 911 as soon as possible also advised.
Progressive warns that if water gets into a car’s engine, it could stall and do non-repairable damage. If a car experiences any kind of damage by a flood, it is recommended by AAA to get it inspected by a mechanic as soon as possible before driving it to avoid car accidents. AAA also recommends speaking to the insurance provider before the inspection since significant damage can cost owners out of pocket if they do not have a comprehensive auto insurance policy.
Even if a road is not flooded, it could have puddles, which can cause hydroplaning. If driving through a puddle cannot be safely avoided, drivers need to keep in mind that puddles can easily jerk steering. To help avoid hydroplaning, drivers should slow down beforehand and firmly grip the wheel as they drive through it. They also need to avoid hitting their brakes and gas abruptly. Only half an inch of water can make a driver lose control. Heavy rain on the freeway, for example, can cause excessive sliding, like last January where a sports car driver who was not speeding hydroplaned in heavy rain in Arlington, WA. The sports car slid under a fully loaded semi carrying fish. Luckily the semi came to a stop without spilling fish all over the road, and the sports car was short enough where the driver did not get serious injuries when his car ended up in front of the semi’s back tires.
Drivers should not use cruise control when it is raining or the roads are wet. Over the years, many Washington car accidents have been caused by using cruise control in wet conditions since doing so can cause cars to accelerate. Cruise control is disabled by braking and can make drivers brake when they should not. I Drive Safely recommends that if a driver starts losing control of their car that they should ease their foot off the gas pedal, steer in the desired direction, and use their brakes based on their type (gentle pumps for regular brakes and steady press for anti-lock brakes).
Fallen powerlines need to be avoided since electricity flows through water well. Professionals like Seattle.gov and Pacific Gas and Electric Company advise that if a driver encounters a fallen powerline that makes contact with their car, they need to stop their car and call 911 immediately, remaining in the vehicle until professionals say it is safe to exit. It is also advised to have well-stocked emergency items in vehicles, such as first-aid kits, emergency roadside kits (spare tire, car jack, extra tire bolts, jumper cables, water, etc.), cellphone chargers, glass window breakers, and seatbelt cutters.
Drivers can best protect themselves and others by following safety protocols and getting ample insurance. If someone is wondering if they need flood insurance for their car, home, or business, Mosaic Insurance says to consider factors like the existence of nearby flood zones, hills, drains, flat land where water can accumulate, and past/current floods on their property, nearby property, and roads they drive on frequently. A Mosaic Insurance independent agent can speak with those who are interested in learning more. Mosaic provides free insurance quotes and writes business for multiple states. Mosaic can be called at 425-320-4280, emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contacted through their website contact page.
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