On May 31st, storm chaser Chris Novy was driving around the Oklahoma tornadoes when he saw the road ahead of him was flooded. He pulled a u-turn to get out of the way, but plunged into a hidden embankment. His dashcam recorded the horrifying drop.
Novy explained how he almost drowned, but his window broke, flushing him to safety from the sinking car.
This is a view from my D-TEG dashcam. I approached a flooded road and made a quick U-turn rather than driving [all the way] into the water. This was a naturally smart move. Unfortunately my turn resulted in me plunging off a hidden embankment and splashing nose-first right into a swollen creek where I sunk straight to the bottom, I traveled several hundred feet underwater with the car quickly filling up. At one point I was completely surrounded by water and just holding my breath in the darkness. Somehow the driver-side and passenger-side windows broke and I was flushed from the vehicle. I surfaced after a bit and found myself racing down the creek. A cop called out to me and I was able to swim to him and his life-saving grab.
The National Weather Service advises drivers to 'turn around, don't drown' in the case of flooded roads. Here is how Novy analyzed how he drove, and if the slogan makes sense.
I should have come to a complete stop and taken more time to evaluate the situation. Ideally I should have just put it into reverse and slowly backed out. I took a dangerous situation and made it even worse leaping before I looked.
Turn around, don't drown!
Novy also pointed out that the cop car could have done a better job of blocking off the embankment, seen here in the dry on Novy's Facebook. He also posted photos showing where his car ended up and how much damage it took. He was very lucky to not join the 12 others killed in Oklahoma's tornadoes, including a few storm chasers.
You can see a full video of Novy's fall in multiple angles with full telemetry data here on KOKH FOX 25, where Novy works.