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Flash floods responsible for most weather-related deaths
By Texas Department of Transportation
Oct 14, 2021
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“Be Safe. Drive Smart.” campaign offers safety tips for motorists traveling through flooded areas

Texas is famous for its ever-changing weather, including flash floods that can make driving treacherous in low-lying areas and on water-covered roadways. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is reminding drivers to heed this important life-saving warning: “Turn Around, Don’t Drown!”

Flash floods are the leading cause of weather-related deaths in Texas, and about 60% of flood-related deaths in our state involve motor vehicles. Just six inches of fast-moving water—enough to barely touch most people’s lower legs or cover their ankles—can cause motorists to lose control of a vehicle, even a pickup truck or SUV. Flood waters also may be hiding dangers such as debris, tree branches, power lines, or damage to the road that can seriously damage a vehicle and harm or even kill drivers and passengers.

State law requires drivers to heed barriers blocking low water crossings or flooded roadways, or face a fine of up to $2,000 and/or up to 180 days in jail. Motorists who tamper with or remove a roadway warning sign or barricade are subject to a fine of up to $1,000, up to two years in jail, or both. 

TxDOT advises motorists in areas experiencing heavy rain or flooding to follow these safety tips:

  • Stay informed about weather conditions.
  • Never drive through still or moving flood waters. Turn around, don’t drown!
  • Reduce your speed, drive to conditions, and turn off cruise control.
  • Be especially careful driving at night, when it can be harder to see flood dangers.
  • If your vehicle stalls in flood waters, if you can do so safely, leave it and move to higher ground.

"Be Safe. Drive Smart.” is a key component of #EndTheStreakTX, a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices while behind the wheel such as wearing a seat belt, driving the speed limit, never texting and driving and never driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. November 7, 2000 was the last deathless day on Texas roadways. #EndTheStreakTX asks all Texans to commit to driving safely to help end the streak of daily deaths on Texas roadways.