Heavy Rain Safety Tips

It is important to remember that floods caused by rain can occur anywhere, with floodwaters rising gradually or flash floods striking suddenly. Water is a powerful force that can easily overtake vehicles and people.

Safety tips for driving in heavy rain:

  • If you must drive in the rain, drive slowly and steadily.  Pull over and stop if it is raining so hard that you cannot see.
  • DO NOT DRIVE THROUGH FLOODWATERS!
  • Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control or possible stalling.
  • One foot of water will float most vehicles.
  • Two feet of rushing water can sweep away most vehicles — including SUVs and pick-ups.
  • Stay away from water that electrical or power lines have fallen into; electric current passes through water easily.
  • Stay off your cell phone unless you must report severe injuries or call for help.

Safety tips for walking or cycling on urban trails:

  • When rain is falling, it’s best not to walk or bike near a river or stream, even on Denver’s paved urban bike and walking trails; water flow can quickly increase and flooding can occur without notice.
  • Move to higher ground and never go into a culvert! If you are on a streamside trail during a rainstorm use the alternate trail up to street level to avoid underpasses and culverts.
  • NEVER take shelter in a culvert, under a bridge, or in an enclosed space, especially in low elevations by rivers and streams. Always go to higher ground out of the flow of water.
  • Do not walk or bike through moving water. Six inches of moving water can cause a person to fall.
  • If lightning is present, do not stand under or near an isolated tree or group of trees.
  • Never allow children to play around streams, drainage ditches or viaducts, storm drains or flooded areas.

Localized street flooding:

  • In underpasses and some areas that are geographical low-points, water cannot be expected to disappear down the storm inlets instantly; the pace and volume of the rainfall may be too quick and too great to immediately drain off. It takes time for the system to accommodate the rainfall.
  • If you know that your street tends to flood because it is located in a low point, be sure to move your vehicles to higher ground whenever rain is forecast.

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