Drivers beware of flash flooding and hydroplaning

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - With all of the rainfall across the Tennessee Valley, flooding is a safety concern for many homes and anyone out on the roads.

If you watch your speed and keep your lights on, drivers are usually safe out on the roads but the thing you want to look out for is spots affected by flash flooding and hydroplaning.

Heavy rainfall can raise water levels too high and dump too much water onto the roads.

"If it looks dumb and stupid, don't do it," said District Chief Jay Gates with Huntsville Fire and Rescue. "It's that simple."

That "dumb and stupid" idea is driving through a flooded area.

"If you're in a car and you come up on a road that's covered in water, do not cross that road," Gates said. "You have no idea what is under that water, you can't see it, you don't know if the road's washed out you don't know anything."

Gates says you might think the road is safe to drive on, but you can never be too sure.

Driving in the rain also means the potential for hydroplaning.

"That is something that can happen in a split second and once it starts it's hard to come out of it," Gates said.

The best way to avoid hydroplaning is to watch your speed and avoid any water on or near the roads.  You also want to make sure your tires and windshield wipers are in good, working condition if you plan to be driving during any storms.

Don't forget about headlights. No matter what time of day, anytime your windshield wipers are on your lights should be on too.

If you live in an area that's prone to flash flooding, remember that electricity and water do not mix.

Gates says no matter how long an area remains flooded, you still shouldn't risk driving on the road, find an alternate route. First responders always say if you can't see the road remember to turn around so you don't drown.

Gates also recommends staying at home once it gets dark outside since it will be even harder to see any potential damage to the roads.