Turn Around, Don't Drown: Viral Video Shows the Dangers of Driving in a Hurricane


Aug. 31 2023, Published 12:39 p.m. ET

Tropical storm Idalia hit Florida’s Big Bend coastline on Aug. 30, 2023, as a Category 3 hurricane before it moved on to South Carolina, USA Today reports. As of publication on Aug. 31, no hurricane-related deaths have been confirmed.

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According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Ready.gov website, you should never try to walk, swim, or drive through flood waters caused by a hurricane.

However, one TikTok creator found this out the hard way after getting caught in flood waters during Hurricane Ida in 2021 — a memory he shared in a video two years later.

Cars driving on flooded roads.
Source: Getty Images
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This viral video shows the dangers of driving in a hurricane.

In a three-minute TikTok video, @seanyluk documents “the day I nearly died.” The video is taken from the dashboard of Seany’s vehicle as he drives through hurricane-force wind and rain.

Although the video doesn’t give the location where it was shot, the timestamp on the video is Aug. 29, 2021, at about 5 p.m., which is right about the time Hurricane Ida, a Category 4 hurricane, hit the northern Gulf Coast and Louisiana.

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As Seany drives through the rain and wind, his wiper blades work overtime. At about 28 seconds into the video, there is a loud noise. You can faintly make out debris in the road and another vehicle off the side of the road. But Seany continues to drive on.

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The grass on the left side of the road gradually turns into water flowing over the road. Seany continues to drive, and suddenly, his car is surrounded by water. You can hear him saying “no, no,” and he may have tried to back up. At one point, the front of the car seems to plunge into the water. Although the image is hard to make out due to the driving rain, you can faintly see waves of water surging in front of the car.

It then appears that the car stops driving, and Seany can be heard saying something. The water is now splashing over the hood of the car. At this point, Seany grabbed his phone. It’s unclear from the end of the video whether he got out of the car, but he wrote in the video description that he ended up sheltering in a shed.

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“It’s been almost two years since Hurricane Ida when i made one of the worst decisions of my life,” Seany wrote in the post. “I ended up sheltering in that shed you see at the end of the vid for hours on end while it was getting hit with 100-130mph winds. It would just so happen I saw headlights driving by around 9 p.m. that night because the garage door had been blown down and I ran out of the shed to ask for help.”

He offered advice to others, “Biggest tip: never ever go out to venture during a hurricane. (Also I learned my lesson and know how stupid i was so don't @ me.)”

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Is it safe to drive in a hurricane?

If you are stuck in a hurricane, you should not try to drive through the storm. “Turn around, don’t drown” is the motto often used by officials during hurricanes and flash floods. Just 1 foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away, per Ready.gov. The National Weather Service advises that you should only drive if absolutely necessary, and try to avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges.

If you must drive during severe weather conditions, the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles agency suggests you do the following to ensure your safety:

  • Buckle up

  • Turn on your headlights and windshield wipers

  • Drive slow

  • Use extra caution when sharing the road with larger vehicles, which are more prone to get blown around by high winds

  • Treat every intersection as a four-way stop because traffic lights may be inoperable.

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