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Officials: Don't drown, turn around when roads flood

Wednesday - 9/7/2011, 4:49am  ET

Kate Ryan, wtop.com

WASHINGTON -- Chances are you've done it at least once. You've seen water across the roadway, and figured you could drive through it. But local fire and rescue agencies say you may be taking a needless risk.

How dangerous is it?

Just 6 inches of water can reach your car's undercarriage and cause stalling, according to information on the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue's website. One foot of water can float a vehicle, and 2 feet of water can carry SUVs and pickups away.

As a result, officials warn never to drive through flooded roads or bridges.

Officials recommend folks consider their routes before leaving home in heavy rains and be aware of alternate routes that may be safer to travel. Although flooding tends to occur most often in mountain streams, hilly areas and low-lying areas, it can happen in suburban and urban neighborhoods, as well. In fact, flash floods can occur in areas where it's not raining due to heavy rains in areas upstream.

Montgomery County Fire Chief Richard Bowers lists roads that tend to experience periodic flooding on his blog, as well as additional tips for motorists navigating flooded roadways.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)