Here’s why you shouldn’t drive through floodwaters

People cannot possibly still be oblivious to the carnage from driving distracted, yet people still drive while texting. For decades, authorities have warned drivers not to try to go through standing water, and people keep driving through standing water and become the poster children for additional warnings not to do it.

So we’re under no illusion that the latest warnings will make any difference, but authorities are trying anyway.

Two sheriff’s deputies in Madison, Minn., deserve all the thanks the state can muster for being willing to risk their own lives to save the ones who don’t listen.

There was a barricade across the road but a man and woman decided to drive around it. That’s when their SUV got swept off the road.

They called 911.

According to the sheriff’s office:

The caller then stated that the current was so strong that it pushed the vehicle into the field. The caller stated they were stuck in the vehicle and the water was rising at a fast pace inside the vehicle. When Deputies got on scene, an adult male was standing on top of the vehicle and female was sitting inside the vehicle. Both parties needed to be rescued. Deputies used cold water rescue suits and the rapid deployment craft to retrieve both individuals.

Sgt. Brian Benck and Sgt. Cole Weick did the dirty work.

The SUV was left in its watery grave.

“This is also a good reminder if there is water going over a roadway please don’t drive through it,” the sheriff’s office said on Facebook, obviously optimistic that people will listen someday.

Archive: Why we drive through standing water (NewsCut)

  • L. Foonimin

    Why not just leave them? Too many people figure they can take stupid chances and first responders are only a cellphone call away. It wouldn’t take many instances, if a few people were left to the consequences of their own folly that may well serve others as a better warning than what is being ignored currently.

    • // Why not just leave them?

      Because it’s not the job of first responders to decide who’s worthy of rescue.

      • JamieHX

        Yeah, and thanks for recognizing them here.

      • L. Foonimin

        I disagree, Dispatch, Police, Fire Departments prioritize runs all the time based on information provided by callers and asset availability.

        • None of that triaging involves whether someone deserves rescue.

          People caught in an SUV that’s been swept away by floodwaters deserve rescue because they’re in an SUV that’s been swept away by floodwaters and they’re in danger.

          Anything else that’s involved is for later. That’s not the job.

          That’s why these people are professionals and this sort of thing isn’t left to the internet.

          • This is all part of the serves-’em-right mentality. Similar to former Sen. Paul Koering’s response at and anti-opioid-overdose discussion by the Crow Wing County Board . “I don’t know why we’re in a big hurry to save somebody like this.”

            The serves-’em-right mentality crowd never comes off as looking particularly bright


          • L. Foonimin

            I need to point out I’m not advocating the serves-‘em right
            mentality and I don’t believe some are more worthy of rescue than others but in the real world of Lac qui Parle County with limited deputies available at any one time decisions are difficult but must be made.

            My point is that some emergencies are more exigent than
            others and with limited assets should they be dispatched to assist people who have caused their own crisis at the possible cost of assistance to others who are in a bad situation not of their own making.

            Fully acknowledging this is never an either/or situation and
            using far fetched examples of swift water rescue versus say, school shooter in progress, I think it useful to recognize we all need to take responsibility for our individual decsisions

          • Two separate situations. You’re describing the prioritizing of calls. Done all the time, as you know, and eventually the caller will get attention. That’s a different situation from not showing up at all because you don’t like the circumstances of the predicament.

    • Ralphy

      I get your tongue in cheek comment. I do wonder if the perps are/can be billed for the rescue.

      • boB from WA

        I would say use them in a public service announcement.On TV. On Facebook. On the radio. Wherever the public would have a chance to hear how they made a mistake and what they learned from that.

        (Oh and BTW I wonder what the woman’s reaction to all of this is)

        • Sara Leiste

          There was a bicyclist who got clipped by the LRT because he only paid attention to one train, and not the one coming from the other direction. He was thrown off to the side. After he recovered, he was part of a Metro Transit ad. I respected him for that.

      • Mark Snyder

        Fire departments bill people for emergency response when it wasn’t through their own idiocy. My former roommate got billed by the fire department for their response after being the victim of a hit and run while riding his motorcycle to work a couple years ago. It’s really ridiculous.

        • I pay for ambulance ride even though it’s a city department. Big moneymaker.

    • Jerry

      What do you think those consequences would be?

    • Jeff C.

      911: “911. What’s your emergency?”
      Caller: “We’re in our car, getting swept away by a flooding river.”
      911: “Where are you?”
      Caller: “State highway 54 near the intersection with 94th St.”
      911: “OK. We’ll send someone there right away.”
      Caller: “Thank you!”
      911: “Wait, did you say near 94th St.?”
      Caller: “Yes.”
      911: “Didn’t you see the barricade? That road is closed. I’m calling the rescue team back. Bu-bye.”
      Caller: “Wait! We need help! Yes, we drove around the barricade, but my wife is in the car and she is about to give birth! The hospital is a quarter mile away the the detour would take 15 minutes!”
      911: “Really? OK, let me look up that excuse on my chart to see if you are worthy of helping.”

      They don’t get left because that isn’t the way a caring society operates. Help now. Ask questions later.

  • Guest

    Does anyone know IF any insurance kicks in when a car is deliberately driven into water?

    • I doubt there’s any coverage difference than if you deliberately ran a stop sign and got in an accident.

    • Ralphy

      Only if you buy the “I’m going to do a really dumb idea” rider.

  • kevins

    I have driven through shallow standing water on roads I know well, but only if i see someone in a larger truck go first. I have chosen not to drive through most of the soaked roads…way too dangerous!!

  • Ralphy

    Even if you don’t get swept away (and it doesn’t take much), driving through water is an excellent way to destroy your motor (and it doesn’t take much).

    • I did it once. Breckenridge 2009. I’ll never do it again. It was frightening.

      • Jack Ungerleider

        Back in 1987 we had that 10 inch rain storm that broke a dry spell (might have been officially a drought). I was driving from Brooklyn Center (Brookdale Library) home to Shorewood, just west of Excelsior. I made the mistake of following a truck along Hwy 7 were it goes low past Excelsior. (I should have gone up toward downtown Excelsior I would have stayed dry.) The car stalled. It took about 5 (maybe 15) minutes to dry out enough to start back up. That was before cell phones and I’m on a dark highway with traffic zipping past. Can’t call anyone. The car would rock when trucks went by and created a “wake”.

        I’m with you, once was enough for that kind of thing.

  • Rob

    It’s so darn irritating when people who are trying as hard as they can to self-select themselves out of the gene pool are prevented from doing so…

    • Jerry

      It’s a very comforting thought to believe that those who die deserve it, isn’t it?

      • Rob

        We all die eventually, deserving or not; some just try harder to get there earlier.

        • Jerry

          Ah, to live a faultless life.

          • Rob

            Or a life that’s not located on a fault-line.

  • AmiSchwab

    this is a great “what’s wrong with this picture”