Facts and tips on driving near floods

Small creek bridge covered in flood water

The facts

  • Floods can occur almost anywhere in Queensland and can rise over days, or in minutes in a ‘flash flood’.
  • It’s dangerous to drive on flooded roads, causeways and rural tracks.
  • Driving into floodwater is the main cause of death in floods. Many of these drivers were in four wheel drives and utes. These deaths are also often locals driving on local roads.
  • Floodwater over the road can look still, but can hide fast flowing water underneath. It can be hard to estimate how deep the water is, or how strong the current can be. Water also hides the road surface, which can get washed away and large potholes and cracks can form.
  • An unstable road surface can collapse under the weight of your vehicle.

The best way to avoid driving in floodwater is to be prepared – that means wait for conditions to improve before heading out.

If you have to evacuate, plan the route BEFORE you leave, so you know where to go and how to get there safely.


Ute in flood water on a road surrounded by trees

Tips for staying safe if driving near floods

  • If you come across water over the road – the safest and smartest decision for you, your passengers, and those around you is to stop and turn around. Stay safe by never driving through floodwater.
  • Flood waters can move fast. Water over the road can hide deep potholes or roads that are completely washed away. Even if you know the road well, or you’re nearly home, it doesn’t make the decision to drive through floodwater any safer.
  • Never try to drive over roads that have water over them.
Road split and eroded away from effects of flood water

To stay safe while driving near flooded areas

  • Check if flooding is likely, plan ahead and make alternative arrangements so you are not driving on flooded roads.
  • Obey road closure signs.
  • When floodwater starts to go down, don’t drive over the roads until the road is open again. Sometimes the road damage is not known until the road is completely dry and is being driven on again.
  • Drive carefully on roads that have been reopened because they may still be drying out.
  • Look out for landslides as many roadsides will have exposed layers of rocks and soil that could slip.
  • Let someone know where you’re going and when to expect you.


Find more information on driving safety in times of flood visit If it’s flooded, forget it, Get Ready Queensland (getready.qld.gov.au)


If it's flooded, forget it campaign visual