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How to Stay Safe on Flooded Roads - advice from Community Insurance Services of Maryland, Laurel, MDWe have certainly had our share of rain-soaked days in the mid-Atlantic region lately, and flooded waterways, roads and homes are the result.  Local flooding happens when rainwater accumulates faster than it can either be carried away or absorbed by the soil.   Once the ground becomes saturated, then prolonged rain falling over several consecutive days or intense rain falling over even a short period of time, will typically overflow rivers and streams onto the surrounding area. 

Flash Flood Driving Risk

When a very large amount of rainfall occurs quickly as in a downpour or a string of thunderstorms brings repeated heavy rainfall to an area, flash flooding can occur with rapid overflow making roads impassable and dangerous.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn us to “Turn Around – Don’t Drown” since over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water.

Driver Safety Tips If Flooding Occurs

  • If you find your vehicle suddenly surrounded by rushing water, exit immediately, being careful where you step as you head for higher ground. 
  • Never drive over downed power lines or drive through puddles that are in contact with such a line. Electrical current could be transmitted through the water and be potentially fatal even if you don’t touch the line itself.
  • Always obey barricades and signs that warn of road flooding. Even if the water looks shallow enough to cross, don't attempt it. Even a puddle that appears only a couple inches deep can be much deeper and can hide major road hazards like washed-out sections and holes in the road.
  • If you see flooding on the road ahead, don’t proceed. Turn around immediately and take a different road to reach your destination. Rushing water could cause your vehicle to float and perhaps even be carried away. As little as just 12 inches of rushing water can carry away most cars.
  • If you cannot avoid driving through deep puddles, then be sure to test your brake function immediately afterwards to be sure that you can stop your vehicle.

 Flood Waters Will Damage Your Car

So it stands to reason that one significant threat resulting from flooding is damage to your vehicle – whether from driving through high water or parked in standing water.

Depending on the circumstances and amount of exposure to the flood waters, your vehicle could incur even major damage such as failure of the electronics and computer system, drive train, transmission, brakes and even the air bags.  If you escape major damage, exposure to this type of water will likely lead to rusting, corrosion, mold or complete loss of part of your car’s interior.  One other concern, of course, is the car’s overall condition which could affect ongoing performance and even resale value.   

Auto Insurance Tip

Long before you find yourself in a potential flooding situation with your vehicle, you will want to know that you have insurance to cover the damages.  Ask your insurance agent about comprehensive coverage and what options you might have to protect yourself well in advance.  You don’t want to be worrying about these things when the water starts to rise.

Here at Community Insurance Services of Maryland in Laurel, MD, our very knowledgeable agents have the experience to assist you with any insurance needs. Before you find yourself driving in high waterbe sure to contact us to check on your auto insurance coverage. We can answer your questions, refer you to other resources, offer a no-obligation policy review and discuss your options.

Monday, 30 July 2018 15:10

Safe summer road trip requires a good planLooking forward to a summer road trip this year? If you’ve done this before, then you know you’ll need to prepare before you drive off to enjoy the open road.  For example, be sure your vehicle is road-ready, take the time to pack well, and don’t forget to review your auto insurance policy ahead of time. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has published some great advice for planning a safe and stress-free summer road trip []. It’s a great read…

Click on READ MORE below to get the high points..

Sunday, 02 July 2017 18:06

black ice - a threat to winter driving, auto accidents and auto insurance claimsWatch for Black Ice – Avoid an Auto Insurance Claim

Black ice occurs when the wet surface of walkways and roads suddenly freezes in rapidly dropping temperatures. Because it happens quickly and is nearly invisible, it is usually unexpected. So it is particularly challenging to drivers. Whether you are a novice driver or a highly-experienced road warrior, you’ll need to know what it is, where it is likely to form, and how to drive on it without becoming an accident statistic.

How Does Black Ice Form?

When light precipitation reaches the frozen asphalt or concrete surface of the road, instant freezing occurs and results in a thin layer of clear ice that is nearly invisible to drivers. Black ice gets its name from the fact that the black road surface shows through this particularly thin layer of ice.

Why is Black Ice so Dangerous?

Black ice tends to be very smooth and thus even more slippery than regular ice with a more irregular surface which will actually allow for some traction. Because it is invisible, a driver may be upon it before they are even aware so they cannot avoid or take precautions.

What Roadways Are Most Prone to Black Ice?

Black ice will be more likely to occur on those patches of roads that do not warm as quickly – those in the shade of trees, buildings, tunnels and overpasses. Of course, bridges are quite prone to black ice since they are exposed to the cold air both on the top surface and underneath and are more exposed to wind.

How Can I Safely Drive on Black Ice?

Be aware when conditions are right for black ice – light precipitation with freezing temperatures. At times like these, slow down, turn off cruise control; and if you sense that you are on black ice, steer carefully avoiding sudden motions until you can move off of the ice patch

How Can I Recover From a Skid on Black Ice?

Once you are into a skid, the technique you’ll use to recover depends upon what type of vehicle you are driving – whether it has front- or rear- wheel drive, all-wheel drive with or without antilock brakes. See “How do I recover from a black ice skid in a front-wheel, rear-wheel or all-wheel drive car?” from Erie Insurance for more advice. 

Auto Insurance Tip

Whether or not you are an experienced a driver and no matter how carefully you drive, accidents can still happen. So before you venture out onto winter roads, be sure that your Auto Insurance offers you complete coverage. It is too late to do so, once an accident occurs.

Here at our Laurel, MD agency, our highly experienced Community Insurance Services of Maryland agents are always glad to speak with you about any insurance needs. Why not contact us for a no-obligation policy review or to discuss your options.


Thursday, 01 December 2016 11:03

college bound how does that affect insuranceWill you soon have teens who will attend college away from home? If so, then you are likely already in the midst of handling that seemingly never-ending list of things to do before they’re ready for campus life. One item that is often overlooked is how this change in your family’s life will affect your insurance coverage. Will they be taking a car to school? What living arrangements will they have – in the dorm or off-campus? These are two of the many questions you’ll need to resolve that will likely affect your auto and homeowners insurance.

In their article titled “Back to College Q & A”, Erie Insurance offers “answers to a few of the most common questions that parents of college students have” and provides tips to keep your students’ property protected.  Read the entire article to learn what you need to know about auto insurance and homeowners insurance protection for your college students.

Insurance Discount Tip

If your college student is young, unmarried, attending college full-time away from home with no use of a vehicle, then you might be eligible for a discount on your Auto Insurance policy. Why not discuss this with your insurance agent; and while you’re at it, ask about other other multi-policy discounts that might also apply. Then you can cross this item off your college planner, assured that you have the right coverage in place before you send your teen off to school.

Here in Laurel, MD, at Community Insurance Services of Maryland, we offer auto/car insurance, homeowners insurance, business/commercial insurance and life insurance to residents of Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. . We welcome the opportunity to discuss your coverage needs and questions at any time.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016 16:09

young coupleThis is the time of year when, it seems, everyone is tying the knot -- strolling into wedded bliss.  All the checklists and plans are underway, and dreams of the wedding march and the honeymoon dance in your head.  But does that checklist include the possible changes to your insurance portfolio as you join two lives and become a couple?  Will you need different financial protection?  What will managing two careers as a couple mean for you?  How will merging two households affect you?  

Do your future plans depend upon two incomes?  If so, your lifestyle will reflect that.  You will have expenses that you have not yet anticipated, and perhaps you have existing education loans or even medical bills to pay.  Then there's retirement... yes, it seems so far away, but who knows what the future will bring? Will you buy a home?  Will you start a family?  In fact, one never knows what life holds in store, so it is important to make plans now to protect what you have and what you expect to have. 

Monday, 12 April 2010 14:56

What Our Customers Have To Say...

I've been with Ginger and CIS (Formerly H.T.Brown Insurance Agency) since November, 1994. Insurance for auto, home, business, and life are a critical part of our daily lives. We never plan on having to use insurance, but it gives me "peace of mind" to know that CIS and Ginger are there to assist. For over 17 years I can pick up the phone and speak with someone that knows me beyond a policy number. In an ever changing environment, it's nice to know they are there to answer my questions. I look forward to being with them for many more years to come. Thanks Ginger.--- Tony Sykesville