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4 tips for driving in a disaster area

Be wary of large water puddles
Be wary of large water puddles © swa182/Shutterstock.com

If you encounter standing water on any streets, don't attempt to drive through, Lardear says.

"A puddle in a regular rainstorm is just water that gets splashed around, but when significant flooding happens, it can conceal a very deep pothole or even where the road ends," he says.

David Darg, vice president of international operations for Operation Blessing International from Virginia Beach, Virginia, says drivers sometimes aren't aware of how serious even minor flooding can be.

"Drivers often underestimate how quickly a car can stall and will drive through shallow water and end up getting stuck. That can be extremely dangerous," Darg says.

Small amounts of water also can cause hydroplaning. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it takes only 6 inches of flooding on a road to cause a driver to lose control of the car.

Lardear says another danger of puddles is that they can hide the presence of dangerous power lines. Even if they're not hidden, they represent another danger when driving through a disaster area.

"Always assume a down power line is live," Lardear says. Don't go near it. However, if a power line falls across your vehicle while you're in it, stay inside your car and keep driving away from that line, according to CDC guidelines.

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