FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, October 30, 2020

When Driving during a Heavy Downpour Follow the Advice, “Turn Around Don’t Drown.”

TRENTON, NJ - The New Jersey Division of Fire Safety cautions both motorists and pedestrians of the dangers associated with flooding during and after Tropical Storm Zeta. State officials warn that the risk of swift-flowing streams and areas with poor drainage can linger for hours and even days after the rain has abated, presenting a risk to residents after the storm has passed.

New Jersey Division of Fire Safety Director and State Fire Marshal Richard Mikutsky calls attention to National Weather Service advice in the wake of the remnants of Tropical Storm Zeta and any other similar event associated with heavy downpours: “The best advice that people should know is, Turn Around, Don’t Drown.”

“People tend to think the weight of their vehicle will keep them anchored. However, they should know that cruise ships weighing nearly 100 thousand tons or more will float,“ says Fire Marshal Mikutsky, speaking to the risk motorists take when approaching water in the roadway after any large downpour.

He notes first and foremost that over half of all flood-related drownings occur because of motorists attempting to negotiate flood waters. Vehicles, similar to boats, will float because of buoyancy.

Typically, the state corps of fire-rescue personnel will conduct emergency aid and evacuate residents who are threatened by flooding. Mikutsky says the following facts are well known to fire departments statewide that are commonly called upon to rescue motorists unaware of the power of rushing water.

  • Just two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including SUVs and pickup trucks.
  • Just a foot of water will float most other vehicles.
  • Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most vehicles causing loss of control and possible stalling.

For social media resources about flooding hazards, visit:

The Division of Fire Safety serves as the central fire service agency in the state. The Division is responsible for the development and enforcement of the State Uniform Fire Code, as well as for implementing community risk reduction and firefighter training programs.

Follow the Division of Fire Safety on Twitter:

For more information about DCA, visit or follow the Department on social


   DCa on Twitter

Tammori Petty
Gina Trish
Lisa Ryan
(609) 292-6055