Use caution on wet roads

Posted September 6, 2008 9:52 a.m. EDT

The combination of Hanna's rainfall and drivers running weekend errands can create a dangerous situation.

The state Highway Patrol says that following a simple slogan can save lives: "Turn around; don't drown."

After the strong winds and high waves disappear, the flood waters created by hurricanes abnd tropical storms linger. And in that calm after the storm, residents venture out to explore the damage.

"We hear frequently of people losing their lives after these events. It happens almost every time," Lt. Everett Clendenin, a spokesman for the Highway Patrol, said.

"That's why it's a good time to remind people," Clendenin continued. "We're in the middle of a hurricane season. Don't drive across a flooded roadway."

Most hurricane deaths and injuries occur inland when people try to drive through flooded roads. And it doesn't take much water to make trouble for motorists.

"If it's more than an inch or two inches, you should never try to drive across that, because there could be a washout," Clendenin said. "There could be a hole, so the best thing to do is turn around and find another route."

All types of vehicles are vulnerable to being swept off the road by rushing waters, making the rescue by the Highway Patrol and other groups that much more difficult.

"I've actually been out on Interstate 40 in Pender County where a vehicle was swept off the roadway. We were busy trying to rescue the people, and at the same time, cars were passing by as the rescue was taking place," Clendenin said.

Another hurricane season has come around, and state troopers can only hope that more people will follow their slogan.