With the National Weather Service issuing a flash flood watch from 2 p.m. today through Saturday afternoon, Maryland State Police are warning motorists to be cautious while driving.
Maryland State Police will be working in conjunction with the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency to address any safety concerns over the weekend. Flash floods can come quickly and without warning during times of excessive rainfall. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, it takes just 12 inches of rushing water to strand a small vehicle, while 24 inches of fast flowing water can carry away most vehicles.
Following the simple advice of “Turn Around, Don’t Drown,” could save lives during flash flooding conditions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half of flood-related deaths occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water.
Here are some simple tips to avoid flood-related injuries:
- “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.” A driver, especially at night, has no idea how deep the water is or whether the road underneath is still intact. Pay attention to road signs that close roads.
- Delay commuting until precipitation moves away and stream and river flooding has a chance to recede and safe travel is possible.
- Pay close attention to local weather forecasts and plan accordingly.
- If a traffic signal is flashing completely out due to a power interruption, motorists on all legs of an intersection must stop and treat the intersection as a four-way stop according Maryland law.
- Never maneuver around low hanging trees or wires or try to move branches or downed wires out of the travel lanes.
- Be aware of the potential for hydroplaning. Often during heavy rainfall, water pools quickly on a roadway surface. At high speeds, even a small amount of water can cause you to lose traction and ultimately control of your vehicle.
- Increase following distances between vehicles. Remember to use low-beam headlights when windshield wipers are in operation.
- Be familiar with areas that have a history of flooding and plan an alternate route.
- Log onto www.md511.org or call 511 from a hands-free device to obtain the latest, real-time travel conditions.
- Live traffic cameras can be accessed by logging onto www.roads.maryland.gov and clicking on the CHART icon.
Also, don’t forget to buckle up and avoid driving aggressively or distracted. In addition, don’t forget to adhere to Maryland’s “move over” laws aimed at increasing safety for police, fire and emergency medical services personnel working on Maryland roadsides.