Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

April 21, 2013

Play it safe with water


— We’ve had our fair share of rain lately. So much so, the Kokomo Fire Department rescued people from their homes in rafts Friday. And if the weatherman is right, we’re getting more this week. That won’t help the situation any.

By 9:45 a.m. Friday, the Wildcat Creek was at 17.44 feet. And it was rising.

The city of Kokomo immediately made arrangements with the Red Cross to open a shelter at 210 W. Walnut St., and Kokomo-Center Schools to open Memorial Gym. City buses were made available to get people to the Red Cross shelter. The city announced nine areas where roads were impassable.

Both city and county governments did an excellent job Friday communicating valuable information.

With this much rain, there’s no way sewers and drains can cope with the demand, and the ground is too saturated to lend a helping hand. So the overflow ends up standing in the roadway.

And every spring, we see law enforcement’s warnings about not driving through standing water go ignored.

Just 6 inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars. This depth can cause loss of control or possible stalling if water is sucked into the exhaust or washes into the air intake.

When the water reaches as little as a foot deep, wheels can lose their grip on the road and cause you to lose control of your vehicle.

Two feet of flowing water can sweep away most vehicles.

Do we tell you this to scare you? Eh, maybe. If we do, it’s because we know most people don’t see the threats of standing water as real, having that “It’ll never happen to me” mentality. It’s that mentality that tells them it’s OK to head through that standing water. And while more often than not, nothing goes wrong, you’d hate to be the exception to the rule.

But now if you talk about a threat to their wallet, people are apt to pay a little more attention.

So, let’s talk about your wallet.

Even if you walk away unscathed, your car will likely not be so lucky. If water gets into your engine, it can cause severe damage — severe enough that it might require your engine to be stripped down and repaired. If that sounds expensive, it should.

So, like law enforcement says every year, don’t drive through standing water.