Tricounty News

Driving on flooded highway?

Dear Trooper Kathy: Last year we were on the state highway and there was water running over the road. There were flashing lights that looked like markers on the side but we had no idea how deep it was. We continued across it, but was that right? What are we supposed to do if we get caught in high water?

Trooper Kathy Says: Now is the prime flood season. You need to start planning now.

The Minnesota State Patrol advises motorists in southwestern Minnesota to plan for the possibility of road closures during the spring melt.

Mn/DOT has been planning and coordinating with local jurisdictions on routes and resources for several weeks now.

Flooding is difficult to predict and roads may be closed or restricted without warning. Motorists are advised to check road conditions at www.511mn.org, in advance of travel.

Every flood is dangerous to motorists. If you must travel in southwestern Minnesota, follow these safe driving practices recommended by the Federal Emergency Management Agency:

¥ Expect the unexpected, flash floods can occur anytime, anywhere.

¥ Flooding can knock out bridges, undercut highways and clog roads with mudslides and debris.

¥ Mn/DOT will identify which roads are closed and warn motorists of potential pavement break up or soft shoulders that could give way.

¥ Drivers are warned not to drive around barricades and to check the state's traveler information website, www.511mn.org, or call 5-1-1 for road conditions, closures and alternate routes.

¥ Do not drive into flooded areas.

¥ If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely.

¥ Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control and possible stalling.

¥ A foot of water will float many vehicles.

¥ Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles and pick-ups.

When a road is closed it is illegal to travel in that area. Motorists can be fined up to $1,000 and/or 90 days in jail. In addition, if travelers need to be rescued from a closed road, other expenses and penalties will apply.

For updated information, call 511 or click on www.511mn.org, when traveling in any area of the state where potential flooding conditions exist. For weather and flood warnings, go to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website www.noaawatch.gov/floods.php, or listen to NOAA weather radio or local radio stations.

If you have any questions regarding traffic safety and/or traffic laws, please e-mail her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Sgt. Pederson will not offer advice on specific situations or real events, which involve law enforcement.