Safety tips while driving in severe weather - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Safety tips while driving in severe weather

ODESSA, TX (KWES) -

Driving through heavy storms can not only be scary, it can be deadly. 
Nationwide, Texas had the highest number of reported flood deaths with at least 77 between 2015 to 2016. Most of these reported deaths involved vehicles that tried passing through a flooded road.

"The problem is not only do the cars get stalled out, it gets swept away," said Executive Director Tracy Austin with the Permian Basin Serving the Red Cross. "Once that starts to happen, the driver has no control over what's going on in the car. It makes the rescue a lot harder for the first responders." 

Heavy rains have caused flooding in certain areas of Odessa. The area off 13th and Muskingum had flood waters that passed through. Several drivers avoided the area, while some continued to drive through it. The Red Cross says doing just that isn't such a good idea.

So what are some things you can do when driving through a heavy storm? 

The Red Cross advises drivers to always be prepared and let someone know your destination and your estimated time of arrival if you're traveling through severe weather. Carry items like high-protein snacks, a small battery operated radio, flashlight, and emergency contact cards.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control and potential stalling. A foot of water will float many vehicles. Two feet of rushing water will carry away most vehicles, including SUVs and pickups.

"Find shelter, find cover somewhere where they can wait the storm out," said Austin. "Don't cross any of those low-water crossings. When there's water on the road, you just don't know if it's a small bridge being washed away or if a small road is being washed away, you just can't see."

Read more safety tips from the Red Cross here.

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