Ask Trooper Steve: What do I do if I find myself in a flooded roadway?

Trooper Steve answers viewer questions

ORLANDO, Fla. – It’s Florida, and what do I mean by that? I mean, we are a weird state, and anything can happen. Mix afternoon thunderstorms and the imminent risk of a possible hurricane, and our roadways can be unpredictable.

We have seen when a storm hits, there are times when areas of our roadways become flooded, even though we may have never seen this happen before. Ensuring that our mental psyche is prepared for something like this is the primary way of ensuring survival. If a roadway cannot be seen and appears to be flooded, do not take any risk at all whatsoever driving through it.

It takes just a few inches of water to move a vehicle, and when flooding takes place, there is usually a current we cannot see. Remaining as calm as possible will increase your survival chances tremendously. I understand that having your vehicle in the water and the entire situation can be extremely traumatic. I am telling you that if you panic, this can become not survivable.

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You must remain focused and determined in order for the situation to end successfully. First, after you’ve realized you are in a flooded roadway, become aware of your surroundings. Is your car stuck? Is your car sinking? Is your car moving with the current of the water? Understanding what is happening will allow your brain to process the situation and you can begin to take the next steps to safety.

Understand one thing: There is a high probability that you will not be able to open your doors if your vehicle is in the water. If your vehicle’s electric system is still working, try to lower your windows. Yes, water will begin to flow into your car, but this will allow the pressure from the water to equalize inside and outside the car, allowing them to slowly open.

There is a tool called an emergency vehicle rescue tool. It’s a combination of both a device that cuts your seatbelt and can allow you to break your window. It comes in many shapes and sizes and ranges in price. This can be found online or at the majority of automotive stores. I have one in every one of my vehicles and encourage everyone to do the same.

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About the Author:

Steven Montiero, better known as “Trooper Steve," joined the News 6 morning team as its Traffic Safety Expert in October 2017. A Central Florida native and decorated combat veteran, Montiero comes to the station following an eight-year assignment with the Florida Highway Patrol.