Important tips to handle if you're caught driving in a flood!

Important tips to handle if you’re caught driving in a flood!

Stefan Luces
Stefan Luces 27.08.2018

One of the scariest scenarios drivers and passengers can experience is being trapped inside a car when flood suddenly covers the streets. In T&T, especially with our long rainy season and notoriously bad drainage, this risk is too real. Six inches of water can already contribute to steering failure, making it hard for you to control your car. One foot of water and your car can gradually float away.

If you have no knowledge of how to handle this situation, your dilemma would be so much worse. For instance, should you stay inside until help arrives? Or, is it necessary for you to go out immediately and find help? Since there are a lot of possible solutions, some of which are completely wrong, we are here to guide you on what to do in a flood when you are inside a car.


No, we do not mean going to the roof of your car and wave your hands up in the air like it’s carnival Tuesday. You can stop ridiculous ideas such as this one by staying calm. The first thing you need to do is to make your car visible by turning on the hazard lights and the headlights. If you can already spot emergency personnel, you are very lucky. These modern day heroes will surely notice the lights from your car and help you immediately. Wait for them to reach you.


Do not believe the notion that the seat belt would keep you safe when the vehicle starts floating away. After all, once the car floats, you are already in big trouble. As soon as you see water surrounding your car, stop the vehicle and release yourself from the seat belt immediately. Also, unlock all doors. If there are authorities nearby, they can easily open your car door and save you.


What if you are stranded in the middle of the flood without safety personnel around you? Lower one window but not in an abrupt way. Just do it slowly. As long as the car is not yet underwater, electric windows usually work even in a flood. Once you successfully lower the window, climb out straight away and find high ground to call for help.


There is a possibility that you cannot open the windows anymore, especially if they are electronic ones. So, you have to resort to car doors. If you are too weak to open the car door, break a window. Most people don’t know this – but the steel parts of the headrest are designed to give drivers and passengers a “glass breaker tool” and all you need to do is apply this with force to the bottom right of the window near the glass sticker. It is hard to forcefully shatter a window inside a compact space and remember these tips are only applicable if the water is still at low level.

Of course, you may suffer from wounds when you climb over a shattered glass window. However, your number one priority is to keep breathing. Wounds are nothing compared to drowning.


Unless the water level is still low, forget about your belongings inside the car. You cannot swim properly if you are busy carrying your purse or laptop. If you can still walk on water, prioritize taking your phone so you can call for help anytime.


Just because you can still stand on water does not mean you can push your car towards a safe place. The main reason why we are advising you to get out of your car immediately is to find a high ground. Flood can still rise to an extreme level so better avoid that pronto. So what if your car is expensive? As a smart car owner, you should have Full Comprehensive insurance and let the insurers deal with this.


When the flood finally subsides, do not go back to your vehicle. You might use a lot of time starting or pushing your car until the water level rises again. Besides, emergency personnel always use proper means of taking cars to a safer place.

In summary, the first solution is to keep calm. When you are calm, your mind easily remembers what to do in a flood when you are inside a vehicle. Your main goal is to get you and your loved ones out of the car. Never wait for the water level to rise up. Do not let yourself be exposed to a more dangerous situation. Lastly, always catch up with weather updates and learn how to swim – just in case.

Safe driving our family!