While the catchy phrase “Turn Around Don’t Drown” may draw laughs for those who have not experienced flash floods in Texas, driving around barriers to go through a water crossing could be deadly. At best, if caught, it is a class B misdemeanor.
The Texas Transportation Code section has heftier fines for motorists who disregard construction and water-over-road barriers.
In Texas, disregarding the sign or barricade is punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and/or 180 days in jail.
The reasons for the law are simple, according to the Texas Municipal Courts Education Center and the Texas Department of Transportation. The state has the most flood and flash-flood deaths and more than double of California, the next-highest state. In Texas, flash floods are the No. 1 cause of weather-related deaths, and 76 percent of all flood fatalities are vehicle-related.
Texas floods happen all year, not just in the spring or during hurricane season, and Turn Around Don’t Drown is a serious phrase every driver should know.