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Turn around, don't drown! How to save your car and your life in monsoon flooding

Posted at 9:15 AM, Jun 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-16 12:24:51-04
Every summer, Tucson Fire Department rescues a handful of drivers from flooded streets during monsoon storms. Driving through the water can ruin your car, but it can also be deadly.
 
It only takes 8 to 12 inches of water carry away an SUV, so cars can get carried away very quickly. The Tucson Fire Department says be familiar with the neighborhood you live in, and have an alternate to get home because the best way to stay safe: never enter moving water on the road.
 
The smaller residential streets are the most common places for flash flooding.
 
If your car does gets swept away, the first step is to call 911. TFD says if the water is quickly rising, roll down your windows so you can eventually climb out.
 
"The top of your vehicle is going to be better than inside if water is actually coming in, and at that point in time, get to the top of the vehicle, and wait as long as possible," said TFD Captain Barrett Baker. "Again, the water is going to be so heavy, so strong, so powerful that you will not be able to swim against it."
 
In fact, Baker warns the very last thing you should do is try and swim away from your car.
 
"There's more dangers in the water," Baker said. "There's shopping carts, there's boulders, there's trees, there's anything that was upstream that is getting pushed downstream, and all of those things can trap you, they can knock you out, those are worst case scenarios."
 
Even if you see someone in front of you make it through a wash, if you can't see through the water, don't go.
 
If you decide to drive through a flooded wash and then need to get rescued, you could be fined up to $2,000 for your rescue. But overall, do not let that deter you from calling if you do need help. The fire department wants you to know saving your life is their number one priority.