Monsoon season and flash flooding dangers for cars

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by Jayson Chesler

Video report by April Warnecke

Posted on June 9, 2014 at 2:57 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 9 at 3:04 PM

PHOENIX -- Flash flooding, the number one thunderstorm-related cause of death, isn't just a health risk. Flash floods can also heavily damage cars and other vehicles. However, there are precautions that can be taken to keep both cars and people safer from flash floods this monsoon season.

Howard Fleischmann of NARPRO said that driving through the deep puddles monsoons leave behind can have a variety of risks. 

"If you hit a puddle that's more than 6 inches deep, first of all, you could lose control," Fleischmann said. "You can also do a lot of damage to the electronics beneath that hood."

Fleischmann recommended tapping the brakes after going through any puddle to insure that the car still has friction against the road. Fleischmann also suggested not driving through puddles that could be deep.

"You can't tell how deep that water is," Fleischmann said. "If it looks a couple or three inches deep, I'd avoid it."

In addition to losing control from the water itself, the oil that roads have been collecting over the course of the year comes to the surface when it rains, making the beginning of monsoon season potentially more dangerous.

Arizona's "Stupid Motorist Law" also means that drivers who get stuck in a flooded area that's been barricaded off could be liable for the cost of emergency services used to rescue them. However, even if an area doesn't have barricades, Fleischmann suggested avoiding flooded roads.

Flooding isn't the only car risk that comes with the start of monsoon season. Windshield wipers that haven't been used for months can cut into the windshield when they're first used, which leads to costly repairs.

To be prepared, Fleischmann recommended drivers get their cars looked at before the monsoons start, knowing the weather conditions and calling 511 to find out about road conditions.

The week of June 8-13 has been dubbed "Monsoon Awareness Week," with monsoon season starting on June 15. For more information about monsoon safety, visit their website.

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