The traffic safety signs you see while driving, biking, or walking near a roadway play a vital role in keeping you safe. This time of year, it’s not uncommon to encounter flooded roads, and you may come across signs that read ‘Water Over Roadway’ or ‘Road Closed’ during your travels.
What do they mean?
A ‘Water Over Roadway’ sign alerts travelers that water may cover the surface of a roadway. It is not recommended to drive, walk, or bike on the road once these signs are in place. You may wish to turn around and use a detour.
A ‘Road Closed’ sign means just that, the roadway is closed to ALL travel including driving, biking, or pedestrians.
When are they placed?
‘Water Over Roadway’ signs are typically deployed when the water level passes over the fog line on the roadway.
‘Road Closed’ signs are placed when it is determined that the roadway is no longer safe for use.
It takes less water than you might think to turn a routine outing into a dangerous situation. Most vehicles will no longer have traction with six inches of water over the road. Likewise, six inches of moving water can knock an adult off of their feet. It takes just 12 inches of moving water to sweep a car off the road, and 24 inches of moving water to carry away larger vehicles like SUVs and trucks. It is never safe to drive, bike, or walk into floodwaters.
Snow, ice, freezing rain, and downed power lines are other situations where you may encounter a road closed sign. Again, these are in place for everyone’s safety. When you don’t adhere to the posted signs, you not only put yourself in danger, but you also put our crews and first responders at risk. During an ongoing incident like a storm or flood event, rescuing those who ignore the road closed signs takes precious time and resources away from other emergency needs. You could also be cited for not obeying road closed signs and receive a fine of up to $426. For the safety of everyone involved, please respect these signs at all times.
For additional safety tips and information, check out the ‘Turn Around, Don’t Drown’ campaign from the National Weather Service: https://www.weather.gov/safety/flood-turn-around-dont-drown