Ignoring flood warnings is putting drivers at risk

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IRRESPONSIBLE drivers are putting themselves and others at risk by driving through roads that are clearly flooded, said police and fire chiefs this week.

As roads in rural areas across Milton Keynes became submerged council workers were busy putting up emergency ‘road closed’ signs.

But some motorists still decided to take a short cut and ignore them, said assistant fire chief Jason Thelwell.

As a result firefighters from the specialist Water Safety Unit were called out to three different incidents over the weekend to rescue stranded drivers.

The first was on Saturday when a van was stuck in fast flowing water in Newport Pagnell’s Little Linford Lane – a notorious flooding blackspot.

Early on Sunday morning the unit was out again to rescue four men stranded in two cars between Haversham and Hanslope Park, near Pikes Farm.

Two hours later they were out again, further along the same road, to answer a call-out that another motorist was stranded.

This time a farmer had pitched in to free the vehicle by the time the crews arrived.

Mr Thelwell said: “We are disappointed that some drivers have shown a complete disregard for their own safety and that of others.”

He said such call-outs required a considerable amount of resources, which could be better used elsewhere.

“Emergency services will always attend incidents where there is a risk to life. However, we are urging everyone to obey the warning signs which have been put in place for their own safety.”

City policing area commander Barry Halliday echoed his words.

“Roads are not closed without good reason,” he said. “Valuable time is often lost dealing with motorists who ignore these closures when this could be better used dealing with genuine emergencies.”

The council is continuing to monitor local flooding and many of the roads closed over the weekend have now been reopened.

But motorists are warned there could be added hazards ahead when temperatures drop over the next few days, causing the already sodden roads to freeze over.

The council’s highways network coordinator Andy Dickinson said: “We are well prepared for winter. Many roads have already been gritted and we monitor the road network throughout the day and night.

“We ask drivers to take particular care, especially in rural areas.”