Flood Advice: Watch That Puddle

(CBS/John Filo)
Hari Sreenivasan is a CBS News correspondent based in Dallas.
"Turn around, don't drown" is a phrase you hear quite a bit on the local Texas television stations, and if you're new here (I moved here in March) you wonder what they're talking about.

But as you talk to local fire chiefs-- I spoke to one from Garland last week and another one in Haltom City today --and you watch the local news which shows you one live pictures every night of one car or another trying to cross a creek during a flash flood and you understand why there has to be a public campaign about trying to tell people not to drive into high water.

Why do they drive into high water?

Maybe it is a totally honest mistake. It looked like a four-inch puddle, and they didn't know there was a sink hole in that puddle that could swallow their car. Maybe they were on their cell phone, weren't paying attention to how much harder it was getting to drive through the water and then realized that water was coming in through their windows. Perhaps they just had a big monster 4x4 vehicle and the dealer at the showroom didn't explain the physics when showing them where to find their rear defrost button. Maybe they already knew that a foot of swift-moving water could lift them, and their big truck downstream and were just the gambling type.

What is rather frustrating for these firefighters is rescuing people who chose to go around barricades, for a joyride, perhaps a rubberneck; to see the damaged areas. While the rescuers are helping these clowns, there is a strong chance that someone who really didn't choose to be in that position, who might need help as well, has to wait that much longer.