March 18, 2019
Ask the Chief
Q: I am worried about the flooded roads, how do I know which road to take when I am going to work or visiting another community?
Thank you for your question, with temperatures forecasted to reach 50 degrees this week, added snow melt will contribute to existing water levels and cause increased opportunities for flooding. Minnesota Department of Transportation maintains road information on “Dial 511” or go to their website 511mn.org (511wi.org for Wisconsin). You can also download their smartphone application (just don’t use it while driving). 511 will provide you with the latest closures and other road conditions that will impact your travel plans.
Remember, “never over drive what you can see." This means that you should not drive faster than what you can safely react to or stop for if you see a road hazard and realize you must take appropriate action. If you see water across the road, slow down so you do not hydroplane (tires leave the roadway). If you cannot see the road to ensure that it remains intact, or if water is rushing over the road, I advise you to turn around and not drive through the water. Also, if no cones or warnings are present, report the condition to 911 so the appropriate precautions can be taken to ensure the safety of other motorists. Stay aware, stay safe!
Travel Tips from MNDO
1. Expect the unexpected – flash floods can occur anytime, anywhere.
2. Do not drive around barricades or into flooded areas.
3. 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.
4. 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. If travelers need to be rescued from a closed road, other expenses and penalties will also apply.
Minnesota Statute #160.27, Particular Use of Right of Ways, Misdemeanor states that anyone who (1) fails to obey the direction or instruction of authorized personnel at the location of the closed highway, or (2) drives over, through, or around a barricade, fence, or obstruction erected to prevent traffic from passing over a portion of a highway closed to public travel may also be civilly liable for rescue costs, in addition to the traffic fines.
1. Minnesota Road Conditions, located online at www.511mn.org.
2. Minnesota Department of Transportation Travel Tips in Flooded areas, located online at http://www.dot.state.mn.us/flood/
3. Minnesota Statute 160.27, Particular Use of Right of Ways, Misdemeanor. Located online at https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/2018/cite/160.27…
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