As the northern half of Michigan's lower peninsula experiences flooding due to heavy rainfall and snowmelt, the Michigan State Police Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division are reminding citizens to drive safely and adhere to all road closures due to flooded roads.

Flooding is one of the state's most common hazards and according to the National Weather Service, 54 percent of flood-related fatalities involve driving. Flooding can weaken roads or cause them to wash out entirely making driving through flooded areas dangerous.

Capt. Chris A. Kelenske,  Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, says "the safest option is to drive only on main roads and to stay off roads that are closed or barricaded." The MSP says it is difficult to judge the depth of flood waters and only takes about six inches to reach the bottom of most vehicles, causing loss of control and possible stalling. The MSP says to remember Turn Around, Don't Drown when encountering a flooded road.

Other tips to stay safe while driving include:

  • Be more cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers
  • Do not take shortcuts and stick to main roads or designated evacuation routes
  • Remember it only takes two feet of rushing water to carry away most vehicles
  • Keep an emergency preparedness kit in your vehicle that includes food and water
  • Avoid areas that are likely to flood including dips, low spots and floodplains

For additional flood safety tips, visit www.michigan.gov/mifloodready