COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL)– According to The Weather Channel, weather-related car crashes kill more people annually than large-scale weather disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, and flooding.
Specifically, wet pavement and rain were the top two contributors to weather-related automobile crashes, on average from 2007 to 2016. In that timespan, 5.8 million people died in a car crash, 21% of those were related to hazardous weather. Flash flooding has the potential to create pooling water on roadways, increasing the chances of hydroplaning while driving.
“You don’t know how deep that water is, how fast moving that water is. Within 12 in. of moving water, it can carry away a small car,” Georgia Department of Transportation District 3 Communication Officer Gina Snider said. “Six in. of fast-moving water can knock over and carry away an adult.”
Our First Alert Forecast Team has been tracking a series of severe storms in our viewing area bringing in heavy rainfall which is expected to lead to flooding and flash flooding.
“We’ve got a big-time frame of seeing some heavy rainfall along with it, severe thunderstorms producing isolated tornadoes, damaging wind gusts, heavy rainfall that could lead to some flash flooding across the region,” WRBL Meteorologist Cody Nickel explained.
The First Alert Weather Team advises drivers to keep at least three car lengths in between you and the car in front of you and check your windshield wipers for visibility. A good rule of thumb is to replace them if they are squeaking. Foremost, drivers should proceed with caution.
“If you’re out and about and it’s pouring, slow down. Just take it easy. You do not have to go to the speed limit. You don’t have to go 60 miles per hour on a divided highway. Just go 50. Just give yourself some extra time. Just because the driving conditions technically aren’t safe,” Nickel said.
To avoid hydroplaning, try to steer clear of standing water.
“Turn around, don’t drown. Don’t drive into that water that you don’t know how deep that water is or how fast moving that water is,” Snider shared.
“Locally, it’s just going to be those localized areas of just standing water up or near curbs or even just a dip in the roadway that collects water. You’re going to want to avoid that just so you don’t hydroplane,” Nickel informed.
If you do find yourself in a situation where you are hydroplaning, Snider says to avoid stepping on your breaks, and to turn with the flow your car is going.
Before hitting the road, make sure the tread on your tires is adequate and keep the recommended pressure in your tires.
“We just want people to not travel if it’s unnecessary travel… You just never know what could pop up,” Snider shared.
Be sure to tune into our First Alert Forecast Team as we continue to monitor the inclement weather.