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Use Caution When Driving In Flooded Areas

Contact: Ron Leix, MSP/EMHSD Public Information Officer, (517) 336-6464
Agency: State Police

SEOC News Release No. 2 - April 16, 2014

LANSING – As the northern half of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula experiences flooding due to heavy rainfall and snowmelt, the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) would like to remind citizens to drive safely and adhere to all road closures due to flooded roads.

Flooding is one of Michigan’s most common hazards. According to the National Weather Service, 54 percent of flood-related fatalities involved driving. Flooding can weaken roads or cause them to wash out entirely, making driving through flooded areas dangerous.

“Flooding can cause serious hazards when driving,” said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. “The safest option is to drive only on main roads and to stay off roads that are closed or barricaded. Driving through water-covered roads is never worth the risk.”

It is difficult to judge the depth of flood waters and only takes six inches of water to reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control and possible stalling. Remember: Turn around, don’t drown when encountering a flooded road.

Other tips to stay safe while driving include:

  • Be especially cautious driving at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
  • Do not take shortcuts, stick to main roads and designated evacuation routes.
  • Remember that it takes only two feet of rushing water to carry away most vehicles. This includes pickups and SUVs.
  • Keep an emergency preparedness kit in your vehicle that includes food, water, a flashlight, a first-aid kit, emergency contact numbers and a help sign.
  • Avoid areas that are likely to flood, including dips, low spots and floodplains; always heed flood warnings and instructions from emergency officials.

For additional flood safety tips, visit www.michigan.gov/mifloodready.