During the Next Big Flood, Just Drive Your Car Into a Giant Ziploc Bag
The Flood Guard car bag looks like a promising solution on the cheap... with a few caveats.
Last week, we highlighted some pretty epic drone footage showcasing the staggering number of cars destroyed by Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area. The Harvey/Irma 1-2 punch took out north of a million vehicles in the southeastern United States in less than a month's time, not to mention the chaos in the Caribbean. It's probably got you thinking—what can I do to protect my car ahead of the next massive flood?
If this new product from a company called Flood Guard works as advertised, the solution is far simpler than you're thinking. Their car bag is, well, a giant heavy-duty zipper bag for your car, complete with a waterproof seal plus tethers and padded bumpers to it anchored and protected when things get a little floaty. Simply drive in, turn off your engine (we can't stress this enough), and exit to begin the waterproofing process.
After sealing the bag and folding up the edges like a giant present, all you have to do is attach the anchoring lines and foam bumper pads. The whole thing looks straightforward enough that two people could probably get it done in less than ten minutes, so it potentially has some utility in shorter-warning situations like controlled reservoir releases. A proof of concept video shows the bag actually works (in a controlled environment at least), protecting a Nissan Juke as it bobs in 30 inches of water and allowing it to be driven out after the test.
Of course, the extended hazardous conditions posed by a real-life Category 3, 4, or 5 storm will pose an entirely different set of challenges. The Flood Guard website has no information on technical specs or capability ratings, so we don't know what kind of forces those straps can withstand, or how long the bag will stay watertight. We also don't know whether the material used is tough enough to stand up to the toxic chemicals that often leech into standing floodwaters. And we question the use of Velcro to attach the bumper pads, and whether that indicates corners cut elsewhere.
At the same time, though, the test showed it worked at least once, and once is all you can really ask for from a $280 product like this. It seems like it would have been especially useful in Houston, where the waters simply rose out of nothing in many low-lying neighborhoods and accounted for far more damage than wind. It probably wouldn't protect your car if the waterline rose above the roof, and you wouldn't want to use it for long-term storage, but it's cheaper than comprehensive insurance.
You might want to consider that too, though. Sales in the U.S. will reportedly begin next month.