High water driving hazards

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

LAWRENCE COUNTY, AR (KAIT) -With so much rain falling or having fell.

Familiar roads and bridges may become hazardous.

As rivers and creeks rise the speed of the water increases to dangerous levels--especially on low water bridges and low lying roads.

Imagine if you will-- and we're not exaggerating-- a commonly used highway intersection under 6 foot or more of water.

It's not impossible, it happened before and it could easily happen again.

With the ground already saturated and many rivers nearing or above flood stage it will not take much to push them over their boundaries.

Low water bridges such as are common in Randolph county can be completely covered in a matter of hours.

All this floodwater has tremendous power compared to a vehicle.

In 2007 a young man drowned on the Sharp county, Izard county line when he attempted to cross a flooded low water bridge late at night.

During a flash flood even a tile bridge which has been reinforced with an extra 6 foot drain pipe can quickly become jammed with debris. And the current can be extremely strong going over the top. And if you get swept downstream, chances are, you're gonna drown.

And yet people continue to drive through flooded areas even around warning signs and barriers.

Even familiar intersections can become hazardous.

Sandy Howard lives on a hill just above the intersection of Highways 115/117 in Lawrence county.

It can flood once a year or several times depending on rain.

Howard, "With excessive rain, Big Creek gets out and the Strawberry River will back up and it will flood this intersection."

Ms. Howard says it doesn't happen every time but she has seen floodwaters as high as the bottom of this stop sign well over 6 feet.

And she says she sees people still try to drive through it. With the rainy forecast the family is already making plans.

"We'll pack up if the rain gets too bad tonight. We'll pack up and go to my mother's."

Again use common sense.

If you can't see the yellow line down the road, or if a low water bridge has water running over it or it just doesn't look right don't drive through it.

Like they say turn around, don't drown.....and live.

©2009 KAIT
ll rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.