Friday, December 15, 2017
Public safety

For drivers who must venture out, some safety tips

Stranded cars are still being reported throughout the Tampa Bay area as motorists continue to drive through standing water.

Police and safety officials are appealing for help.

If possible, stay indoors and off the roads. For people who must venture out into the storm, here are tips from Florida Highway Patrol's Steve Gaskins:

• Make sure your vehicle's equipment works properly before you leave home, Gaskins says: brakes, tires, windshield wipers and especially headlights and taillights.

• Increase following distance and reduce speed.

• Don't drive over standing water. "Turn around," he says. "Don't drown."

• If you absolutely must pass over a flooded roadway, take it slow. People often think plowing through it is the best option, Gaskins says. That usually results in flooded engines and stranded drivers.

•In two-lane streets, drivers sometimes move to the middle of the road because the crown is the highest point (and most shallow). However, Gaskins says, in poor visibility that can create dangerous situations for people coming the opposite direction. Instead, he advises people to use the outside white line as a guide.

Other tips from Max Lewis, manager of Downtown Auto:

• Place one foot on the brake and one on the accelerator. Pump your brakes to keep them dry.

• If your car stalls, it likely will not start back up. "If it does, it's luck or a fluke," Lewis says. You may need to proceed on foot.

• If you've driven through an area that has been flooded with brackish or saltwater, you should have your vehicle's undercarriage washed.

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