How to safely escape a flash flood

ABC News’ Matt Gutman demonstrates what to do to escape a flash flood and the tiny decisions that can make a lifesaving difference.
7:26 | 10/01/19

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Transcript for How to safely escape a flash flood
We are back now with our new series live on "Gma" as millions across the country face a flash flooding threat, we're showing you what to do if you're caught in one. Matt Gutman is in Maryland with a live demonstration. Good morning, Matt. Hey, good morning, robin. So often we report about people being hurt or drowning in flash floods or major storms and our experts tell us that many of these incidents are survivable and so over the next few minutes I'm going to teach folks some very basic tips will how to get out of a situation like this alive. Now, one of the major things you need to know you can see those pumps right now in front of us dumping 200,000 gallons of water a minute into this dry riverbed and we are trying to simulate a real flash flood and the reason it's so important to do this live is to show people at home that this can be done in realtime. Now, we have taken major safety precautions here at adventure sports center international. We have a team of rescuers standing by from rescue 3 international. You may be able to tell that we've chained the front of a car to this concrete and I'm wearing a life preserver as well underneath this shirt. Now, you could tell we have three pumps going that the water is going pretty swiftly. Six inches of water can knock a person off their feet. A foot will sweep your car away. I'll get in. You don't want to do this at home. A lot of people get into the situation, they don't have to. We'll show you the worst that can happen in this video that you're about to see and also some basic safety tips and you're going to be able to see exactly what is happening in this car. The water welling up in this live box in the corner of your screen. It's scenes like these that make it so important to show you how to evade and escape your worst water nightmare. We've got a baby. I'm banging on the roof yelling, screaming, please get my kids out of the back of the truck. Reporter: Everybody here made it out alive. Flash floods tossing cars like bath toys leaving rescue teams scrambling. Firefighters pumping their way through this car window to rescue a woman trapped inside and these New Jersey newlyweds stuck in rising waters just moments after their ceremony. The car was flooding and we couldn't get out. Within four or five minutes went from a pud toll a raging river. Reporter: An average of 94 people in the U.S. Die every year in floodwaters. Nearly half of those deaths occur in vehicles likely trying to cross submerged roads. That's not a river down there. That was once part of a highway. It can even happen in stagnant water. Experts say a flooded road may look passable on the surface but because of unseen dips, it could be deeper than expected. When water is covering the road you really can't tell the depth of the water until it's too late. Reporter: Two weeks ago a man died after attempting to drive through this flooded Texas parkway. Water there a deceiving eight feet deep. Some streets may look like they're passable and seen firsthand they're not. Reporter: It takes a mere six inches to knock a person off their feet and cars that can be suck into the tailmight causing the engine to stall out. At 12 inches that swift water will carry away most vehicles. I don't think people realize the power of the water. No vehicle is floodproof. Once the water gets halfway up the tires of a car, an SUV or a fire truck, it's prone to float and be swept away. Reporter: One of the most important things to remember. Is prochiloing a flooded roadway, remember it's not worth it. Turn around. Don't drown. Reporter: You heard that turn around don't drown. Too often people realize that they're getting inside a submerged road. They don't see how deep the water is. All right, so the key is getting out. One thing you don't want to do. Do not call 911. Do not get on your phone. Do that later. First thing take your seat belt next thing roll down the window, a car battery should live for a minute or two during that situation. If you do need to break it and it's not going down you can use a headrhett. Always hit the corner. Next thing, seat belt, roll down the window as quickly as you now use anything you can to climb up to get on top of this roof. You can use the steering wheel, the visor, even the seat belt. I'll put my feet on the feet and climb out onto this roof. Now you're going to want to ride this roof. If you have your phone on now is the time to call 911. It's a lot easier for rescuers to see you up top this beat up blue car than it is to see you in the water. Okay. This car is going to be careening down this river, it's probably going to smash off at some point against a tree or an on straw Cal and may be a point in which you feel you need to get off. Don't want to be in it or on top of it when it smashes against something. So what we're going to do is defensive swimming. At some point I'm going to jump in the water and try to swim to a calmer looking part of the water or an Eddie and that's where I'll try to get on shore and get out of this water. So defensive swimming, you're like a bug on their back. Keep your feet up in the air and use your legs as bumpers basically fending off any obstacles in your way. When you do see that shallow spot where you think you want to get out of the w5er9, that's when you swim like hell. I may lose you. You may not be able to hear me but I'll talk to you on the other side. Also try to belly flop in. Matt is in the water and we have his rescue crew standing by. Mike burna is instructor trainer watching Matt closely. Mike, we can see that Matt is swimming using techniques you gave him. Walk us through what he's doing. Yeah, so if your car becomes submerged your life is going to be in peril. Right now Matt is just doing everything he can to get out. So he's trying to find the calmest water possible and swim into that. It doesn't matter how you get out. You need to get to higher ground or a safer area immediately. Even if that means you just climb on and hold on to a tree until help comes. Oh, goodness. So you find that area which Matt was able to do and then like you say you swim. So, Matt, I know that you even with the preparation, what was it like being in the water having no control there for awhile? You saw my head got dunked underneath. It's always startling when that happens. Also the water is always colder than you think it's going to be. And so that can be startling but other than that, you know, once I found that sort of shallower calmer spot I started to swim as fast as I could, robin. What do you want viewers to know most. A couple simple tips. Don't get into this kind of situation. Turn around, don't drown. Don't try to drive your car through one of these flash floods. If you're in one, remember, seat belt, window, out. Three basic tips. Seat belt, window, out. Glad you're okay. Glad you had the crew standing by. That was pretty intense.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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