HOUSTON (KIAH) – The Texas Department of Transportation says flash floods are the leading cause of weather-related deaths in Texas.

As the spring and summer roll in and we kick off Hurricane Preparedness Week, TxDOT is sharing flood and rain safety tips.

TxDOT’s “Be Safe. Drive Smart” campaign could help save people’s lives in the event of flash flooding. In fact, TxDOT says about 75% of flood-related fatalities in Texas happen in vehicles.

As little as six inches of fast-moving water can cause drivers to lose control of a vehicle, even a pickup truck or SUV.  To put this into perspective, that’s enough to barely touch most people’s lower legs or cover their ankles.

Along with dangerous driving conditions, it could be hard to see foreign objects hiding under floodwater. Things such as debris, branches, down powerlines, or traffic signs.

State law requires drivers to pay attention to barriers blocking low water crossings or flooded roadways. Drivers who ignore these signs could face a fine of up to $2,000 and/or up-to 180 days in jail.

Tips for driving in rain and flood conditions

  1. Never drive through still or moving flood waters. Turn around, don’t drown!
  2. Reduce your speed, drive to conditions and turn off cruise control.
  3. If your vehicle stalls in flood waters, and if it’s safe to do so… leave it and move to higher ground.
  4. Do not use cruise control and if your vehicle starts to hydroplane, ease off the gas pedal or brakes. stay calm and wait for the skid to stop.
  5. Always buckle up

Most importantly, stay informed on changing weather conditions.  Hurricane Preparedness Week goes until May 7, 2022.