Ask a Trooper: What should drivers do when encountering water on roads?

State Trooper Jesse Grabow answers your road safety questions.

Question: With spring being here and the melting snow, can you talk about what a person should do when encountering water on roads?

Sgt. Jesse Grabow

Answer: Flooding can occur when streams and rivers flow over their banks, when dams or levees break, when there is run-off from deep snow or any time there is heavy rainfall.

Floodwaters can be found on roads, bridges and low areas. Flash floods can come rapidly and unexpectedly. They can occur within a few minutes or hours of excessive rainfall.

Do not drive through flooded areas. If you see a flooded roadway ahead, turn around and find another route to get to your destination.

Other tips:


  • Be cautious, especially at night, when the visibility is limited.
  • Remember, six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control or possible stalling.
  • Two feet of moving water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks.
  • Even if the water appears shallow enough to cross, do not attempt to cross a flooded road. Water can hide dips, or worse, floodwaters can damage roadways by washing away the underlying road surface.
  • If there is no other route, proceed to higher ground and wait for the waters to subside.

Send questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues in Minnesota to: Trp. Jesse Grabow โ€“ Minnesota State Patrol , 1000 Highway 10 W., Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. Follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at

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