Trapped In The Car

Cars in flooded street

Trying to escape!

How many stories have you heard in just the past few hours about people trapped in their cars due to severe weather? I’ve heard about hundreds, even thousands, of people — racing to avoid an oncoming hurricane, carried off roads by flood water, or just stuck for hours in massive traffic jams!

If you find yourself in one of those traffic jams . . .

and you are unable to escape before the storm hits, or unable to get home after the storm hits, what condition will you be in?

  • Do you know what action you and your family members in the car should take, and when?
  • What about being in touch with other family members that are outside the car?
  • What supplies will you have in the car to help you make it through the hours until you can get back home or to another safe place?

What can you do now, before the next storm hits?

Here are some very basic preparedness actions that the recent storms have reminded us about. You can take these steps NOW before the next storm hits!

1. Keep the car at least half full of gas at all times.

2. Have a map of the area in case you need to find alternate routes to get around traffic jams, road blockages, etc.

3. Know which radio channels broadcast weather information. On CNN we heard weather broadcasters telling people exactly what to expect by the minute.

4. If you get in your car, take your Survival Kit with you. Knowing you have some food, some water, some sanitary supplies, and some cash will be reassuring, at the very least. If you have to manage in the car for many hours, having this Kit will be a huge comfort.

5. If you take your pet in the car, take the Pet Survival Kit, too. I saw one man in flip-flops and a t-shirt whose passenger was his dog. Did the dog have food and water? An adult can understand that doing without is necessary for a while; an animal – or a small child – cannot.

Flooding facts, for review – thanks to FEMA.

More people drown in their cars than anywhere else.

Know the difference between a WATCH and a WARNING. A flood watch means a flood is possible in your area. A flood warning means flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area.

Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling. A foot of water will float many vehicles. What looks like six inches may not be; the road may be washed out below the water surface.

Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUV’s) and pick-ups.

Stay in the car or get out?

Do not drive into flooded areas. But if floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. Do not stay in the car: it may stall or get stuck in the water, and then get pushed off the road. Once off the road, cars often start to roll, making escape impossible.

What’s your story?

What experiences have you had being trapped in a car? Share your stories with us and our readers. It may help save lives.

Thanks, Virginia

P.S.  If this article strikes a chord, please pass it along to friends and family.  Just copy this link and send it in an email:


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  1. Amy Everpean
  2. Russ Flanigan