HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — PennDOT, along with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and the Pennsylvania State Police, urged motorists to know the dangers of flash flooding and to never drive through flooded roadways.
When heavy rain is in the forecast, drivers are urged to be alert for potential flooding on roadways in low-lying areas. Drivers should obey traffic control and warning signs and never drive through flooded roadways.
“It’s hurricane season, and Pennsylvania is no stranger to heavy rain and flooding,” said PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll. “Please, be safe. If a road is flooded, don’t try to drive through it. It takes just two feet of fast-moving water to carry away most vehicles, including large SUVs.”
Swift-moving water can wash a car from a roadway, and the roadbed that is underwater may not be stable. Officials have also stated that anyone who drives around barriers intended to close a road can face increased penalties if emergency responders are called to rescue motorists who disregard traffic control signs.
“It’s important to understand and be aware of flash flood watches and flash flood warnings, particularly at night, especially at night when flooding is harder to see,” said PEMA Director Randy Padfield. “Regardless of whether it is a watch or warning, delaying unnecessary travel until after the immediate threat has passed is always a good option because water can rapidly rise and impede your ability to get yourself and your loved ones to safety.”
“A fine of $250 for ignoring barricades doubles to $500 if first responders must rescue you or call a tow truck. Additionally, you get billed for the emergency response,” said PSP Commissioner Colonel Christopher Paris. “Aside from fines and likely car repairs, consider the danger to your life and others. It’s not worth the risk.”
Motorists are also reminded that Pennsylvania law requires headlights to be turned on anytime a vehicle’s wipers are needed. Drivers should turn on their full headlights during rain events as the daylight running lights feature on some vehicles does not automatically turn on the taillights.