MSHP & ISP warn motorists to take precaution during predicted flash flooding

MSHP & ISP warn motorists to take precaution during predicted flash flooding

(KFVS)

Both the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) and the Illinois State Police (ISP) are urging the public to make smart decisions regarding the recent predictions of flash flooding.

The weather forecasts are calling for heavy rains to cover much of Missouri and parts of southern Illinois, ultimately affecting safety on both the waterways and roadways. Flooding, especially flash flooding, has proven to be extremely dangerous and can even be fatal.

The patrol has placed additional assets and manpower “on call” in areas expected to be most affected.

The patrol is urging drivers to never drive through fast-moving waters; even a small amount of fast-moving water can sweep a slow-moving vehicle off the roadway.

If your vehicle becomes stuck in rising water, get out quickly and move to higher ground. Last December’s flooding claimed 16 lives when vehicles were swept away, disabled or submerged by floodwaters.Troopers rescued more than 40 people during that same month after they were trapped by flood waters.

The patrol requests that boaters across the state to take extra precautions when boating in flooded areas. Large amounts of rainfall can cause rivers and lakes to become swollen. Many times the right decision is to stay off the water. In areas where lakes or rivers spill over the banks, erosion and damage can occur to flooded structures, docks, or water laden levees by boat wakes. Boaters should avoid operating in these areas. If operation in these areas is necessary, boaters should operate at idle speed so as to avoid causing a wake.

Flooded rivers and streams with moving currents present pose some of the most dangerous situations a boater can encounter. Fast moving water can easily capsize or flip a boat—or personal watercraft—especially when combined with fixed objects such as trees and buildings. Boaters should avoid any operations in these swift flowing waters.

The ISP offers the following tips to assist motorists during the predicted flash flooding:

  • Check for road conditions prior to your trip. A list of road closures can be found at http://www.dot.state.il.us/road/closures.txt.
  • Be aware of and obey “High Water” and “Road Closed” signs
  • Avoid driving through water over a roadway
  • 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.
  • Be aware of debris left in the roadway from flooding. Logs, rocks and mud can be left on the roadway from flooding.
  • Be on the lookout for downed electrical power lines, especially in water over the roadways.
  • Make sure your vehicle is prepared for the wet weather. Have your tires, brakes, and windshield wipers checked to make sure they are in good working condition.
  • Turn on your headlights. State law requires you to turn on your headlights when your windshield wipers are on due to weather conditions. With your headlights on, you are more visible to other motorists.
  • Allow for more travel time. When the roads are wet you should drive at a slower speed. Also keep in mind that traffic will likely be traveling slower as well.
  • Increase your following distance. Wet roadways and reduced visibility increases the amount of time it takes to safely stop your vehicle.

Approximately 63 percent of Missouri fatal crash victims who are required to be restrained are not at the time of the traffic crash. The patrol is urging motorists to protect themselves and their passengers by making sure everyone in the vehicle is properly restrained in a seat belt or child restraint.

Following the tips provided by both the MSHP and the ISP will assist in safe travel during this upcoming wet season. In addition, as a general reminder, always buckle up, obey the speed limit, limit distractions while driving and don’t drink and drive.

Download the KFVS News app: iPhone | Android

Copyright 2016 KFVS. All rights reserved.