PennDOT warns motorists to steer clear of high water in wake of flooding

With heavy rains projected for the region this weekend, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation warns motorists to take precautions for driving during inclement weather, and not to attempt driving through high water. This weekend’s rainfall may cause water to back up on area roadways.

PennDOT warns motorists not to drive across roads covered with water because the water may be deeper than it looks. Motorists who encounter water covered roads are encouraged to turn around and find an alternate route.

PennDOT offers the following tips for preparing your vehicle and driving in rainy conditions:

• Do not attempt to drive over a flooded road. Turn around and go another way (turn around, don’t drown!).

• Do not drive around or through devices closing a road due to flooding. Under Act 114 of 2012, motorists who drive around or through signs or traffic control devices closing a road or highway due to hazardous conditions will have two points added to their driving records and be fined up to $250 (if the violation results in a need for emergency responders to be called, the fine is increased to between $250 and $500 and violators will be held liable for repaying the costs of staging the emergency response).

• Do not underestimate the destructive power of fast-moving water. Two feet of fast-moving flood water will float your car. Even slow moving water can sweep cars off a road or bridge.

• Slow down. Driving a little slower on wet surfaces is always a good idea.

• Try to stay at least two car lengths behind the car in front of you.

• Check your wiper blades – replace them if they feel “pitted” or rough to the touch. Ice or small pebbles on the windshield may have damaged them during the winter.

• Check your headlights – both low and high beams – before heading out to see if all of the bulbs are working.

• Use headlights and windshield defrosters to make sure you can see ahead and behind you as clearly as possible.

• As you travel, monitor NOAA Weather Radio and local radio broadcasts for the latest information.

• Keep a small disaster supply kit in the trunk of your car.

• If you are in your car and water begins to rise rapidly around you, abandon the vehicle immediately.

Motorists can check road conditions on more than 2,900 miles of state roads by calling 511 or visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, average traffic speeds on urban interstates and access to more than 500 traffic cameras. The 511 site also provides easy-to-use, color-coded winter road conditions for all interstates and other routes covered in the 511 reporting network. Regional Twitter alerts are also available on the 511PA website.

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