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Our Opinion: Flooded roads yield troubled waters for motorists

News Tribune editorial

As a motorist, what do you do when you come to a flood-covered roadway?

We all know state officials — from the Missouri Highway Patrol and Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) — advise “Turn Around — Don’t Drown.”

But there’s the nagging thoughts that turning around will be time consuming and inconvenient. And, perhaps, the water isn’t that deep, anyway.

Which choice do you make? Consider these excerpts from Friday news stories:

• Authorities in eastern Missouri say a woman has died after her car was swept off a creek-side road amid flash flooding.

• A school bus driver and four children had to abandon the bus after it became stranded between two flooded creeks.

• Transportation officials say nearly 300 roads are closed across Missouri because of flooding.

MoDOT Central District Engineer Davis Silvester said: “We want to remind motorists that it’s never safe to drive on a water-covered road. Just a few inches of fast-moving water can carry a vehicle away.”

In addition, Silvester said roadbeds can wash out, leaving deep gaps.

Motorists may consult MoDOT’s Traveler Information Map at www.modot.org to find out, in advance, the locations of closed roadways.

If a motorist encounters a floodcovered roadway, MoDOT advises:

• Never move or drive around barricades placed on roadways due to high water.

• If a road is closed, find another route.

• If a road is covered in flood water, but is not closed by a barricade, do not drive into the high water. Stop and turn around. Notify the police, sheriff or the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Past experiences of people being killed or stranded by flooding are the basis for MoDOT’s recommendations.

These advisories are not designed to complicate your life, they are designed to save your life.

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