MEDIA AVAILABILITY: A AAA spokesperson is available to discuss weather related AAA roadside assistance call volume, flood damaged vehicles and insurance issues that follow. Please contact Kathleen Zinszer at 610-291-7312 to coordinate a time/location.
Flooding Leads to a Busy Day for AAA
With more rain in the forecast, drivers should stay away from flooded areas
PHILADELPHIA, PA (August 14, 2018) - Several inches of rain and flooding made for a busy day for AAA tow trucks and Car Care Centers around the Delaware Valley yesterday.
AAA Roadside Assistance Statistics – Philadelphia 5-County Area –
Monday, August 13, 2018
AAA Mid-Atlantic roadside assistance crews responded to more than 1,800 calls for service Monday, nearly half (49 percent or 890 calls) resulted in a tow. Tow calls in the Philadelphia 5-county area jumped 16 percent yesterday compared to Monday a week ago. Delaware County was especially hard hit, as a high volume of flooded vehicles arrived at the AAA Car Care Center in Wayne.
"In some cases, vehicles were parked in areas that flooded while the driver was away, but other cases involved drivers who thought they could drive through floodwaters and learned the hard way that they should have turned around," said Jana L. Tidwell, Public and Government Affairs Manager for AAA Mid-Atlantic. "The weather forecast is calling for more rain this week. AAA urges all motorists to avoid flooded roadways and to never try to drive through standing water, no matter how shallow it appears. Bottom line, turn around, don't drown.
Depending on the vehicle year, make and model, the cost of repairing flood damage can easily exceed a car’s value. When dealing with an automobile that has been in a flood, the first step should be to contact your insurance company (provided you have comprehensive coverage) for help in determining the best course of action.
Once floodwaters rise above the vehicle door openings, extensive disassembly may be required for cleaning. To avoid causing additional problems, never attempt to start a flood-damaged car until a thorough vehicle inspection has been performed by a qualified technician.
In addition to the obvious damage it does to upholstery and carpeting, floodwater is a corrosive and abrasive mixture of water and dirt that works its way into every seam and crevice of a vehicle. Sewage and chemical contaminants may also be present in floodwater, and in coastal areas salt water from ocean storm surges can increase the possibility of vehicle damage and costly auto repairs. Even if a car is mechanically safe to drive, sanitary concerns could make it unwise for you to do so.
What to Look For
The engine, transmission and drivetrain, along with the fuel, brake and power steering systems. Unless contaminants are completely removed from these important components, increased wear and premature failure can result.
The electrical systems in modern cars are particularly prone to flood water damage. Engine control computers, vehicle sensors, infotainment systems, and other electronic devices – along with wiring harnesses and the many connectors that join them together – can be very difficult to salvage. Unless every part is thoroughly cleaned and dried, inside and out, problems caused by corrosion can crop up weeks or even months after the flooding.
Many parts of a car are challenging to clean and dry because they are hard to access. Door locks, window regulators, power seat motors, heating and air conditioning components, and many small parts are tucked away in enclosed areas or up under the dash. These items may work okay immediately following a flood, only to fail later due to contamination by dirty water.
Never attempt to start a flood-damaged vehicle until a thorough inspection has been performed by a qualified technician. Your first step should be to contact your insurance company (provided you have comprehensive coverage) for help in determining the best course of action.
AAA Tips on Auto Insurance Claims:
- Physical damage to a car caused by flooding is covered under the optional comprehensive portion of an auto policy.
- Car owners should contact their insurance company to determine the extent of coverage before seeking repairs.
- Take photographs of any visible damage.
- Any vehicle sustaining flood damage should be fully inspected before being allowed back on the road. Mechanical components, computer systems, engine, transmission, axles, brake system and fuel system impacted by water contamination may render the vehicle unfit to drive and in many cases vehicles sustaining significant water damage will be determined to be a total loss.
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AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 57 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Pennsylvania. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.