‘Turn around don’t drown’ | First responders share how to avoid stalling your vehicle when it floods, what to do if it is submerged

One risky decision to go down a water-filled road could end up costing you your life and even the lives of first responders.

BEAUMONT, Texas — Several drivers in Beaumont found themselves submerged Wednesday morning in Beaumont.

In the dark of night as the rain poured they accidentally drove right into danger along MLK.

One risky decision to go down a water-filled road could end up costing you your life and even the lives of first responders.

First responders shared what drivers should do to avoid stalling their vehicles on flooded roadways and what to do if they end up taking on water. 

“Those underpasses and a few of the service roads are kind of our frequent flooded areas. We responded to a little over 35 calls for service that were related to the water,” said Beaumont Police Department PIO Haley Morrow.

Since Monday the Beaumont area has received constant rain, enough to turn roads into deep rivers.

“It doesn’t take much water covering a roadway for a vehicle to be swept away or flooded out and stalled, and for a person to become trapped inside,” Morrow said.

Port Arthur Fire Chief Greg Benson advises drivers in heavy downpours to trust their gut and avoid taking a potentially deadly risk.

“Turn around, don’t drown,” Benson said. “Instead of saying ‘well, I think I can drive through this,’ turn around. Even if you have to drive an additional five miles you’re going to avoid that.”

Chief Benson advises if you ever end up trapped in high water  to keep calm, immediately dial 911, and make your way to the roof of your vehicle.

“With water, a couple of minutes could make a significant amount and that could change things a lot,” he said.

Chief Benson says his firefighters attach this rope to one firefighter on dry land and another firefighter who would swim out to rescue a stranded driver.

“Then the tenders can help pull them both back,” Benson said.

While firefighters do train in these high-water rescues Chief Benson says it’s your responsibility to remain vigilant and avoid unnecessary risk in heavy downpours.

“Turn around don’t drown,” said Benson.

Learning to swim, at any age, would improve a driver’s chances of escaping a submerged vehicle, according to Chief Benson. The Beaumont YMCA offers swimming lessons for all ages. You can find out more info on their website.

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