It may seem like obvious advice, but it's too often ignored: Don't drive into water that you can't see the bottom of.  

More than half of flood-related drownings occur when someone drives into hazardous water, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Weather Service (NWS). Flooding claims the lives of about 89 people each year, the CDC says.

Simply put, if you're on a road and the water seems to be 6 inches deeper, turn your car around. Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.  

Even water that's 12 inches deep can move a small car, and 2 feet of raging water can dislodge and carry most vehicles, the NWS says.

Driving into water can lead to trouble in several ways, says Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports director of auto testing.

“Some lose control after hitting a large water puddle and may hit a tree or become stuck, some may find their car swept away, and some get stuck when the car’s engine sucks in water and stalls,” Fisher says. “All of these situations can leave drivers—and possibly their families—at risk of drowning if the water continues to rise.”

People drive into flood water because they often think it's shallow, says Stephen Hegarty, public information officer for the Tampa, Fla., police department, which has a lot of experience with these situations.

“People just think they’ll make it to the other side, and it’s a lot deeper than they think," Hegarty says, adding, "They don’t know if the road has worn away, and don’t know what’s under the water. You don’t know if there’s a wire down, or debris in the road.”

Downed wires can lead to electrocution, Hegarty says.

“When we have bad flooding, especially a storm with a name, we have to rescue people on a regular basis," he says. "It’s a legitimate crisis.”

Even experienced drivers can be caught in flooding. Houston Police Sgt. Steve Perez, 60, had worked 34 years with the department, and drowned during Hurricane Harvey when he inadvertantly drove into floodwaters, city officials said. 

Driving into flood water also can leave you with a car that's totaled.

“Even if the water isn't over the car’s bumper, it's possible for water to be sucked into the engine's intake and stall or even destroy an engine,” CR's Fisher says.

Owners without a comprehensive auto insurance policy will end up having to pay for a replacement vehicle out of pocket.