HUGHESVILLE, Md. – Maryland State Police troopers from the LaPlata Barrack responded to a water rescue this morning after two vehicles were apparently swept off the road due to flooding near the Charles County-Prince George’s County line.
The preliminary investigation indicates just before 9 a.m. the drivers of two vehicles tried to cross Brandywine Road (MD 381) where rising floodwaters from Swanson Creek swept both vehicles off the road. First responders rescued both drivers, with one of them being transported by ambulance to University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center for treatment.
Charles County Emergency Services Airboat also responded to assist with the rescue. Both drivers were located within 45 minutes of the initial call. Due to the flooding conditions, the road remains closed at this time. The Maryland Department of Transportation assisted with the road closures.
Flash floods can come quickly and without warning during times of excessive rainfall. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, it takes just 12 inches of rushing water to strand a small vehicle, while 24 inches of fast flowing water can carry away most vehicles.
Following the simple advice of “Turn Around, Don’t Drown,” could save lives during flash flooding conditions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half of flood-related deaths occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous floodwater.
Here are some simple tips to avoid flood-related injuries:
• “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.” A driver, especially at night, has no idea how deep the water is or whether the road underneath is still intact. Pay attention to road signs that close roads.
• Delay commuting until precipitation moves away and stream and river flooding has a chance to recede and safe travel is possible.
• Pay close attention to local weather forecasts and plan accordingly.
• If a traffic signal is flashing completely out due to a power interruption, motorists on all legs of an intersection must stop and treat the intersection as a four-way stop according Maryland law.
• Never maneuver around low hanging trees or wires or try to move branches or downed wires out of the travel lanes.
• Be aware of the potential for hydroplaning. Often during heavy rainfall, water pools quickly on a roadway surface. At high speeds, even a small amount of water can cause you to lose traction and ultimately control of your vehicle.
• Increase following distances between vehicles. Remember to use low-beam headlights when windshield wipers are in operation.
• Be familiar with areas that have a history of flooding and plan an alternate route.
• Log onto md511.org or call 511 from a hands-free device to obtain the latest, real-time travel conditions.
• Live traffic cameras can be accessed by logging onto roads.maryland.gov and clicking on the CHART icon.