Near-constant rain created flooding through parts of Tennessee. AAA urged caution on the road during periods of heavy rainfall because it can cause reduced visibility.
“There’s no way to tell how deep standing water is, so motorists should avoid driving through water-covered and flooded roads,” said Stephanie Milani, Tennessee Public Affairs Director, ACG —The Auto Club Group.
“Driving on familiar water-covered roads is no safer because objects could be below the water that could cause damage to your vehicle,” she said.
Nearly 1.2 million traffic crashes occur each year on wet pavement with more than a half million injuries and 5,700 deaths, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Driving through standing water can damage a vehicle's engine, cause the brake rotors to warp from rapid cooling when immersed in water, cause loss of power steering, and short electrical components in a vehicle.
Experts said if your vehicle stalls in water do not stay inside but get out as soon as possible and seek higher ground. Flood waters can elevate quickly, sweeping away the vehicle and its occupants.
Another safety tip: do not restart your vehicle. Restarting a vehicle in standing water can cause more water to enter the engine and could cost thousands of dollars to repair.
AAA also said contact your insurance company to determine the best course of action. Depending on the vehicle year, make, and model, the cost of repairing flood damage can easily exceed a car’s value.
Once the vehicle can be moved safely, take it to a trusted mechanic for a thorough inspection of mechanical and electrical systems and to flush contaminated systems.