"Road Closed" reads the warning on signs where flooding from recent rains covers the pavement.
"Turn Around - Don't Drown" advises the campaign slogan from the National Weather Service.
"It's a real mess," Missouri Highway Patrol Sgt. Dan Crain said, describing flooding in the state. "We're encouraging folks to be really careful. When there's water over the roads, don't take the chance. Don't take the risk. Please turn around."
Do motorists heed these messages?
Not always. And not often enough.
Turning around and finding an alternate route is inconvenient, time-consuming and frustrating. The temptation is to deny or minimize risk. Perhaps the water isn't that deep. My vehicle can make it through.
Resist those nagging temptations.
Perhaps the water isn't that deep and you will make it through.
Or perhaps your vehicle will be swept away and you and/or your passengers will be imperiled or drown.
Public safety experts warn it is never safe to drive on a water-covered road. Only a few inches of water can carry a vehicle away.
Cole County largely has been spared from recent flooding, although officials are monitoring low-water crossings.
Adjoining counties, however, are experiencing flooding and road closings that are changing by the hour.
We encourage area residents to monitor road closings and plan trips accordingly.
When traveling in flood-prone areas, officials warn:
• Never move or drive around barricades.
• 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, turn around and notify authorities.
Water covering a roadway may appear benign, but treachery lurks. Be smart and be safe. Turn around.