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Dangers of driving through flooded streets

Posted at 6:50 PM, May 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-01 20:16:16-04

TULSA - The heavy rains and flooding didn’t stop some drivers from trying to get to their destination, causing multiple vehicles to stall on city streets.

First responders said most people underestimate how deep the water actually is, endangering not only themselves but loved ones in the car with them.

“When storms come into Oklahoma, they typically come in and pack a pretty big punch," said Captain Matt Bell with the Tulsa Fire Department.

Bell is also a swift water rescue instructor and said unfortunately when there’s a torrential rainfall, he sees the same thing every year.

“Someone will try to go through the water and stall out. Then we have other cars coming in behind that will stall out as well," said Bell. "So, we end up finding four or five cars stalled in the middle of the roadway, some with people in them.”

Bell said the water is unpredictable and potentially life-threatening.

“The water could be rising or going down. There’s a lot of hazards in the water," Bell said. "Manhole covers will actually float up, so there’s a raging river under your feet and you have no clue."

Just one foot of water can float a small car and two feet of water can move an SUV or heavy truck off the road.

Another issue first responders face is vehicles driving around barricades.

“You may think, ‘Oh, I can still see the roadway. We put those there because it’s either shallow, fast moving water or it’s deep water, but the barricades are there to save your life," said Sgt. Shane Tuell with the Tulsa Police Department.

“If it takes you an extra 5 or 10 minutes to get home, don’t risk ruining your vehicle or possibly drowning," said Bell.

The best thing to do is just turn around and find another way to your destination.

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