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Mechanic shop owner warns motorists of the risks faced when driving through high water

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Posted at 6:18 PM, May 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-19 19:18:03-04

LAFAYETTE — Heavy rainfall from the week is causing major flooding in parts of Acadiana, leaving many people stranded in their vehicles after trying to drive through the high water, and now mechanic shops are fully booked.

Charlie Dugas, the owner of Dave's Car Care Center, says that not only are you risking your safety by driving through flooded roadways, but you're risking draining your savings account just to repair the damage.

"You can completely total your car, and we are talking thousands of dollars of damage by ruining your transmission, your engine, or both," says Dugas. "And if the water goes over the hood, you are risking frying all of the electronics and computer systems inside the vehicle."

Dugas says that since Monday, they have seen an increase in vehicles being brought in with extensive water damage.

"We have had four just in the past two days," he says. "Over the course of the next week or two we will probably see some more."

He says the safety hazard of driving through high waters goes far beyond the damage it can cause to your vehicle.

"People will drive through water that is too high, and they might not really know how high it is, but what happens is the water gets sucked up into the engine and once that happens it will cause the car to stall," says Dugas. "And at that point you're stuck in the middle of the road, with rushing water, and you can't get out of your car sometimes."

While some auto insurance companies will cover the damage and repairs, not all of them will. Dugas says it varies and primarily depends on the agency you are with, the coverage you have and the cause of the damage.

"Your best bet is to just turn around and don't take that chance and put yourself in danger," he says. "Not only for the monetary reasons, but more importantly for your personal safety and the safety of others."

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