SES reminds motorists not to drive through flood waters

The severely flash-flooded section of Myall Way on Sunday. Photo: Stroud SES.

‘NEVER drive through flood waters’ – the message from the State Emergency Service was crystal clear, and reinforced by yet another incident during flooding of the Myall Way on Sunday 5 May.

At least one vehicle drove into flood waters along Myall Way, was subsequently inundated and stalled near the bend in the road just before Gams Rd turnoff, believed to have entered the known flood zone waters during darkness or early morning.

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The car and its driver upon the Myall Way last Sunday were rescued by a combined effort of two crews from Stroud State Emergency Service (SES), MidCoast Council road crews, Fire & Rescue Tea Gardens 471, and Rural Fire Service contingents from Pindimar/Tea Gardens and North Arm Cove.

“Myall Way has flooded at three main points,” SES Stroud Deputy Commander Greg Snape told NOTA.

“The most dangerous part is not the depth, the water flows quite rapidly, enough to sweep a car off the road.

“People regularly misjudge the depth of flash flooding, and also have no idea about the condition of the road surface beneath.

“They could hit a new pothole, aquaplane and veer into a tree, flood their engines, and the electronics in modern cars will stop altogether.”

Another constant issue for SES volunteers is many drivers’ propensity to argue about flooded roadblocks, as occurred last weekend.

Many drivers have also set themselves bad precedents by successfully tearing through flooded sections in the past, and unwisely believing they can do it again.

“The SES has to put their own lives at risk to fish people out, but we also do vigorous risk assessments, and in some cases, we simply cannot go into the waters to rescue a driver,” Greg added.

“Generally, if a driver makes a conscious decision to drive into flood waters, they will void any insurance and could get billed for the rescue efforts, too.”

Yet another issue on flooded roads is the ‘wake damage’ caused when motorists foolishly zip as fast as possible through the waters, causing waves to crash upon nearby cars and properties.

The SES also reminds drivers and pedestrians that any flood waters coming onto roads off farms and paddocks are essentially raw sewage, given the prodigious amounts of manure on those landscapes.

Viney Creek Road East should not be attempted if the Myall Way is flooded.

“Part of Viney Creek is a causeway, so it will flood before Myall Way.

“It is remote, traffic is sparse there, mobile signal is poor, and no-one may know you are stuck there for a long, long while.”

By Thomas O’KEEFE

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