With numerous state highways in northwest Missouri closed due to flooding, the Missouri Department of Transportation is reminding motorists not to move or attempt to drive around barricades that block flooded roads.
Barricades are put in place for motorists’ safety, yet MoDOT and law enforcement officials report they continue to see drivers either maneuver around the roadblocks or move them to get through.
“Moving a barricade is dangerous for the person doing it and also puts others at risk by removing the warning sign,” said Chris Redline, district engineer for MoDOT’s Northwest District. “Whether driving or walking, any time you come to a flooded area or barricade, remember the saying: turn around, don’t drown.”
He noted that flooded roadways can be more dangerous than they appear because the road may have washed away or collapsed under the water. In addition, the water may be deeper than it appears and can hide hazards such as sharp objects, electrical wires or chemicals.
Drivers should also be alert to the hazards of moving water. More than half of all flood-related deaths occur when vehicles are swept away because drivers attempted to travel through flood water. Many of these motorists drive around flood barriers because they mistakenly underestimate the force and power of water. Consider this:
- Six inches of fast-moving water can knock over and carry away an adult.
- 12 inches of fast-moving water can carry away a small car.
- 18-24 inches of fast-moving water can carry away most large SUVs, vans, and trucks.
Once flood waters have receded, MoDOT crews must clear debris and inspect for any damage before deciding if the road is safe for travel. Once the road is deemed safe, crews will remove the barricades and reopen the route for traffic.