Colonel J. Bret Johnson, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, would like to remind the public that heavy rain can result in flash flooding, a safety concern for both motorists and boaters. The Patrol reminds everyone that flooding has proven to be extremely dangerous and could be fatal.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol asks boaters across the state to take extra precautions when boating in flooded areas where rivers and lakes have 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 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 swift flowing waters.
Watercraft operators must consider the effect their actions have on others: Share the waterway and use common sense, good judgment, and courtesy to ensure the safety of all. Life jackets save lives. Wear It!!
For their safety and that of their passengers, drivers are reminded to stay alert while driving when it is raining and be especially vigilant in areas known to flood. Weather conditions requiring the use of windshield wipers are usually those that affect visibility. Motorists are reminded that state law requires them to turn on their vehicle’s headlights any time they are using the windshield wipers. It only takes a second to turn on your vehicle’s headlights. But, that second could make you more visible to other drivers and prevent a traffic crash. Should flooding occur, barricades may be used to close a roadway. These barricades are there to protect you. Drivers must respect barriers or barricades put in place by MoDOT — it is extremely dangerous and a violation of state law to drive around them. 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.
The only 100 percent survivable traffic crash is the one that never happens. Make sure everyone in the vehicle is properly restrained in a seat belt or child restraint. Every day as we travel on Missouri’s roadways, we trust that every driver on the road is going to obey the speed limit, pay attention, and drive sober. “Don’t Violate The Trust.”