HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Mississippi Department of Transportation public information officer Katey Roh is headed down to the coast to help MDOT responders prepare for the landfall of Hurricane Salley.
Roh says drivers across the state need to prepare for severe weather, road closures and to stay home if possible.
“The most important thing to do is, again, stay home if you can,” Roh said.
You can avoid weather-related accidents by staying off the road during severe weather and help keep the roads clear for first responders.
Roh warns that rain, standing water and flooding can create extremely dangerous road conditions.
“Standing water on a road could look completely harmless, but you could drive into it and the rainwater could have, the flooding could have, washed out the road and created a dangerous situation," Roh said. “The water could be a lot deeper than you think.”
And even a little bit of water can cause a lot of problems.
“It only takes 6 inches of water to wash away a person and 12 to wash away a car, so you really can’t tell how deep it is," Roh said.
MDOT encourages people to turn around and find alternate routes with the slogan ‘turn around, don’t drown.'
"So the most important thing when you come across standing water on a road is just to turn around, don’t drown, it’s better to be safe than sorry,” Roh said.
Strong winds also create the potential for dangerous debris.
“Debris on the road is definitely a potential threat when it comes to these tropical systems," Roh said. "MDOT first responders' job is to respond right after the storm hits and get the roads clear for other emergency responders.”
So if you can, avoid driving after strong winds to give them time to clear any dangerous areas. If you are driving and come across the debris, Roh suggests finding an alternate route so you don’t endanger yourself, your vehicle or responders on the way to clear the debris.