“Turn Around – Don’t Drown,” a national campaign for awareness of the dangers of driving into high water, is coming to western Kentucky with placement of special warning signs on selected state highways in McCracken County.
The signs are a cooperative effort of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, National Weather Service in Paducah, McCracken County Emergency Management Agency and the Shadow Angel Foundation, which funds weather-related safety projects. The signs will be placed along highways in six flood-prone areas identified by McCracken County Emergency Management.
Natives of the area who had been raised with the flood waters of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers have seen what can happen when only a few inches of water cover a road. According to the United States Search and Rescue Task Force, it takes only six inches of fast flowing water to knock a person off their feet. A car can be swept away by only two feet of water. The message is clear, don’t drive through flood waters.
According to a press release from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the signs declaring “Turn Around – Don’t Drown” will be going up in specific locations to help remind motorists of the dangers of trying to get through flood waters. According to the release, the Shadow Angel Foundation is funding the signs. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet will install them.
“Our goal is to raise the awareness of dangers posed by flooded roads,” said Beau Dodson, of the Shadow Angel Foundation. “Our hope is that people who see these signs on a regular basis will file away that safety message and remember it any time they encounter a flooded roadway.”
The hope is that long term exposure to the message will help motorists remember potentially dangerous areas during a flooding event. While it may be difficult to think about flooding after a particularly dry summer, flooding will be an issue in the spring. The National Weather Service in Paducah is forecasting an increased likelihood of thunderstorm activity during the winter months, so motorists should be alert to flooding year round in Western Kentucky.
Motorists who encounter water covered roads are advised to follow these basic safety rules:
- Monitor NOAA weather radio or reliable news source for weather information.
- If flooding occurs, get to higher ground. Get out of areas subject to flooding. This includes dips, low spots, canyons and washes.
- Avoid areas already flooded, especially if water is flowing. Do not attempt to cross an overflowing stream.
- Road beds may be washed out under flood waters. NEVER drive through flooded roadways. If your vehicle is suddenly caught in rising water, leave it immediately and seek higher ground.
- Do not camp or park along streams and washes, especially in threatening conditions.
- Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
More information can be obtained at http://www.srh.noaa.gov/tadd/ or by going to www.shadowangelfoundation.org.
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