Drivers urged to take care as surface water makes driving conditions difficult

Tuesday, 19th January 2021

MOTORISTS across Staffordshire are being reminded to take extra care on the roads as heavy rain and the risk of surface water or river flooding could make driving conditions difficult.

A yellow weather warning for rain from the Met Office is in place until Thursday which could see instances of surface water flooding on the county’s roads.

People should slow down and drive with caution and be aware that surface flooding could be present on any road. Motorists should also avoid driving through any partially flooded roads, as it’s difficult to tell how deep the water could be.

During spells of heavy rain additional spray from other vehicles could also make visibility and driving more difficult.

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) has also issued a plea to drivers to take care when crossing fords that run across roads after a recent incident where a van driver had to be rescued from the River Tean in Beamhurst.

SFRS were called at about 1005 GMT last Thursday (14 January) to reports a van had left the carriageway on the A522 in Beamhurst and gone into the River Tean – with the driver still inside and needing to be rescued.

Anthony Ball, Watch Manager for Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service who oversaw the operation, said:

“This goes to show how easy it is for vehicles to be swept away by fast-flowing water during this stormy period of the year.

“With weather mornings in place for more upcoming bad weather, we urge all drivers to think twice about trying to drive through fords which may be flowing deeper and faster than usual.

“We would also ask all drivers to plan ahead to take other routes and leave more time for their journeys so that speeds can be reduced during the difficult conditions.”

The incident occurred near to the JCB World Parts Centre where a ford crosses the carriageway.

Crews from Cheadle, Newcastle under Lyme and Uttoxeter and a water rescue unit from Newcastle-under-Lyme were mobilised and sent to the scene.

The water rescue team sent a flotation device to the driver and crews boarded a raft to get to the vehicle via a fixed line and the driver was extricated from the vehicle safely.

David Williams, Staffordshire County Council’s Highways Chief said:

“We’ve seen some heavy and persistent rain and difficult driving conditions today and this is expected to continue over the next few days.

“With this kind of weather there is a real risk of surface water flooding on the roads and I would like to remind people to take extra care if they are out.

“People should slow down, leave plenty of space between them and the vehicle in front of them and be aware that there could be surface flooding around any corner. I’d also ask people not to drive through any flooded sections of road. Tempting as it might be,  you can never be sure about how deep the water is and could end up getting stuck there.”

People should report any flooding problems they see on the roads on www.staffordshire.gov.uk, on the MyStaffs App or by calling 0300 111 8000.

Anyone with a property that has flooded or is at risk of flooding from the highway should report it here.

If people are worried about river flooding they can contact the Environment Agency by calling their FloodLine on 0345 988 1188.