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How to navigate flooded roadways

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Days of steady rain have Salinas drivers in deep water. A driving instructor tells KION the best thing to do is just to avoid flooded roads altogether, but if you can’t find an alternate route, go through the highest point of the road. 

Some cars took their chances and waded through Cars waded through several inches of water on Post Drive and Boronda Road Monday. But not all were able to make it through.

One car got stuck and had to be pushed out by a larger SUV. It can be dangerous to go through the floods, a fact that has some drivers turning around to look for alternate routes.

“I don’t feel it’s safe to cross those places. Seen too many disasters in those areas like that in my life here,” said Salinas resident Barbara Summers.

But sometimes it’s unavoidable, so what should you do?

Driving instructor of more than 15 years Rosalie Asanon with PC Driving School said if you can’t go around, look for the highest point of the road, which on the highway is typically the middle of the road.

“Try to be in the middle of the lane because that’s going to be the highest part of the road," Asanon said. "You don’t want to be to the right, you want to be more to the left, because the right is where the shoulder of the road is–the mud, you can get stuck in the mud.”

Water near the shoulder of the road can also be deeper. Cars that are higher off the ground are also at an advantage for getting out of floods safely.

Asanon recommends going through slowly, but don’t stop in the middle of the flood.

“You can really damage your car in the water, especially if you stop because the water’s going to be getting in your engine,” Asanon said.

You should also check to make sure your tires aren’t worn down. You can do this with a penny. Put it in between the grooves of your tire treads with President Lincoln’s head facing down. If you can see the top of his head, then your tires are worn out and need to be replaced. 

Before going out in the rain, also remember to have your headlights on and defroster on to avoid foggy windows.

Monterey County / Salinas

Elisha Machado

Elisha Machado is a weekend anchor and multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.

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