Driving through flood water? You could face fines, jail time
SENIOR police have slammed drivers who endanger their lives and those of others by driving through flood waters after a number of rescues need to be performed over the weekend.
And they warn drivers could be subject to infringement notices with severe penalties of up to $1000 plus jail time.
Despite repeated warnings and pleas for drivers to stay clear of flooded roads, a Richmond Police District spokesman said even if there were no signs up indicating a road was closed due to flood drivers should use common sense.
"If you are driving and the rural fencing along the road is disappearing under water then it is a sign the road is probably flooded," he said.
"Please use your common sense."
His comments came after a women and her niece had a lucky escape after their car was swept off a flooded road at Boat Harbour near Lismore on Saturday.
It is understood that other drivers captured the drama on their phones as the car was swamped by a surge of water in less than two minutes.
The driver allegedly told media the road had "been deemed open" by the local council.
On social media the driver was criticised for her decision to drive into the water.
Meanwhile, the number of drivers failing to halt at stop signs, indicate, keep to speed limits or use headlights during wet weather has also staggered police.
The RPD spokesman said heavy rains may have caused damage to road surfaces including potholes, while there could be branches, debris and other items hidden in the water which could damage vehicles and cause a crash.
"People should slow down when driving in these conditions as the water over the roads can cause aquaplaning," he said.
A Tweed Byron Police District Tweed Byron Detective Chief Inspector Matt Kehoe said apart from the Byron Bay rescue of two tourists, when their parked camper van fell into a sinkhole, two other rescues in the region occurred after drivers chose to ignore warnings about driving through floodwater.
"A 60-year-old man also had to be rescued after he chose to drove his Ford Territory along a flooded road at Wooyung yesterday," he said.
"Police called the State Emergency Services to rescue the man."
Insp Kehoe said some tourists driving a hire vehicle from Queensland along a cause way at Tyagarah found themselves in deeper water than expected.
"They ended up reversing into a creek at Tyagarah after they tried to back out of a flooded road on Friday at 10pm," he said.
"Fortunately, everyone is OK, but the message is if the road is flooded, then don't drive through."
He said if the road is covered and there's no sign, then do the responsible thing and contact council or the RMS and advise them of the situation.