Drivers warned to avoid deadly floodwaters

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Authorities are urging drivers to avoid flooded roads following significant rain events in southern regions of the country.

With parts of Australia being lashed by heavy rain, authorities are once again warning about the deadly consequences of attempting to drive on flooded roads.

Victoria has been battered after receiving three months of rain in just 24 hours, forcing police to urge motorists to avoid floodwater and take extra care on wet roads.

“We’re asking all motorists to please heed the warnings from emergency services – avoid travelling on flood-affected roads, and never attempt to drive through flood waters, it could be the last thing you ever do,” warned Victoria Police’s Road Policing Assistance Commissioner, Glenn Weir.

“All emergency services are working hard to respond to this latest weather event, but we don’t want to be diverting resources to rescue people that have ignored the warnings.”

Drivers attempting to cross submerged roads are the single biggest cause of flood-related deaths in Australia.

In a five-month period between November 2021 and April 2022, 27 people died as a result of driving into floodwaters – including passengers – accounting for 68 per cent of flood-related fatalities during that time, according to Risk Frontiers.

In December 2022, a Sydney man was charged with two counts of manslaughter after allegedly attempting to drive through waters. While he and another man swam to safety, two other passengers were swept away and lost their lives, The Guardian reported at the time.

A terrifying video posted to Facebook in October 2022 by Dashcam Australia (above) shows how quickly it can go wrong for those attempting to drive through flooded roads, despite being in a four-wheel-drive ute with a snorkel.

Just 15cm of water – half the length of a standard school ruler – flowing at a mere 3.6km/h is all that is needed for a small car to be carried away.

Ben Zachariah is an experienced writer and motoring journalist from Melbourne, having worked in the automotive industry for more than two decades. Ben began writing professionally more than 15 years ago and was previously an interstate truck driver. He completed his MBA in Finance in early 2021 and is considered an expert on classic car investment.

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