Fire services urges East Devon drivers to steer clear of floodwater

PUBLISHED: 09:56 10 February 2009 | UPDATED: 10:28 10 June 2010

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service are advising people not to drive through flooding after yesterday's heavy rain.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service are advising people not to drive through flooding after yesterday's heavy rain.

The warning comes after a week of extreme weather across both counties. Last year areas in Devon and Somerset experienced localised flooding in the Ilminster and Ottery St Mary areas.

Group manager Laurie Adams said: "Motorists who drive into flood water are taking unnecessary risks with their own safety. A misjudged situation can lead to a vehicle breaking down in flood water, leaving the motorists in need of urgent assistance."

Jane Fletcher Peters from the Environment Agency said: "It really isn't an exaggeration to say that if you chance it and drive through a flooded road, you are putting lives at risk. This is especially the case at fords where the risk is often higher."

Just a few weeks before Christmas 69 drivers were rescued from their vehicles by firefighters in Devon and Somerset during torrential rain.

In Somerset an 86-year-old-man died after he was swept away in his car by floods.

During the East Devon floods at the end of October 2008 approximately 14 people were rescued by firefighters from the roofs of their cars in Ottery St Mary.

The fire service is asking drivers to bear in mind the following safety tips:

o Do not attempt to drive through flooded roads or fords. The water is often deeper than it looks and may be moving quite fast. Your vehicle may be swept away or become stranded.

o Vehicles can float in just 2 feet of water.

o If your vehicle stalls, leave it immediately if safe to do so and seek higher ground.

o Do not travel in heavy rain storms unless absolutely necessary. Keep an eye on weather reports on local television or listen to local radio.

o During a storm only call the emergency services for immediate assistance if there is a risk to life, or serious property or environmental damage.

o Phone the Environment Agency's Floodline on 0845 988 11 88 for up to date flood information.

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