Turn Around Don’t Drown®

Turn Around Don’t Drown®

Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm related hazard. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water. The next highest percentage of flood-related deaths is due to walking into or near flood waters. People underestimate the force and power of water. Many of the deaths occur in automobiles as they are swept downstream. Of these drownings, many are preventable, but too many people continue to drive around the barriers that warn you the road is flooded. A mere 6 inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult. It takes just 12 inches of rushing water to carry away a small car, while 2 feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles. It is NEVER safe to drive or walk into flood waters.

Turn Around Don’t Drown® Warning Signs

Yellow Warning Sign

The yellow warning sign, right, “When Flooded, Turn Around Don’t Drown®” complies with Federal Highway Administration (FHA) standards and is intended for deployment as a permanent road sign. Warning signs alert drivers of a possible danger ahead, such as when it may be necessary to slow down and stop, or a road hazard or special situation may be ahead. Details on producing this Turn Around Don’t Drown® warning sign are available here.

The “When Flooded, Turn Around Don’t Drown®” warning sign should be deployed at locations where the incidence of flooding is high, the onset of flooding is rapid, and/or it is not practical to deploy incident signs in a timely manner.

NWS offices are encouraged to work with officials in their local areas in promoting use of this sign to save lives and property.

Warning signs have a black legend (i.e., lettering and outer border) and a yellow background (RGB color 255:208:69 or Pantone 116). More detailed guidance on use of warning signs can be found in Chapter 2C of the MUTCD.®

Pink Incident Sign

The FHA, with its Letter of Support, has encouraged use of the phrase “Flooding Ahead Turn Around Don’t Drown®” as an official incident management road sign (pink) following FHA specifications. Get details on producing this Turn Around Don’t Drown® incident sign.

Incident management signs are a specific type of Temporary Traffic Control (TTC) sign deployed in response to short-term events which impede the normal flow of traffic such as accidents, natural disasters, hazardous material spills, or other unplanned incidents. The “Flooding Ahead Turn Around Don’t Drown®” incident management sign is intended for use at locations where stream waters flooding across a road have made passage dangerous. The location may be a road which dips down to the level of
a stream channel or a bridge or culvert which cannot pass high flood flows.

Incident management signs are intended for mounting on temporary sign holders such as the one shown above. They should not be mounted on construction barricades.

This type of incident sign has a black legend (i.e., lettering and outer border) and a fluorescent pink background (RGB color 255:40:140 or Pantone 232). More detailed guidance on incident signs can be found in Section 6I in Part 6 of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).

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