Warning for 'idiot' drivers
Last updated 17:20 13/06/2014
Police and roading officials are asking people not to be idiots by ignoring or moving signs warning people about flooded roads in Marlborough.
Marlborough highway patrol team leader Sergeant Barrie Greenall and Marlborough Roads highway manager Frank Porter said irresponsible behaviour by drivers has been putting vehicles and people at risk.
A rental car was found abandoned at 7.30am today at the Jackson's Rd ford, near Blenheim.Porter said the car was stranded in floodwaters after the driver ignored a closed sign.
The occupants of the car put a day-glo jacket on the roof as a warning, meaning it was probably left there while it was still dark, he said.
"Plunging into a flooded ford is foolhardy, but then abandoning an unlit vehicle in the middle of the road in the dark is creating a real danger for others," he said.
Despite the car stuck in the floodwaters, contractors saw other vehicles driving around the stationery car and going through the flooded ford.
"There's no way drivers can know what's happened to the road under those floodwaters,'' he said.
''The road surface could be gone; there may be big rocks or logs, or large holes. It's incredibly stupid to ignore warning signs.
"The road was clearly signposted as closed but drivers were ignoring that, Porter said.
He advised drivers to find out if their insurance policies covered them for vehicle damage incurred while driving on a road that had been closed, he said.
Roads were closed for a reason and the driving public needed to understand that.
People had been moving signs and road cones to make their way through flooded areas. It was a dangerous practice which created extra risk for others, Porter said.Drivers of 4WDs seemed most likely to believe the closure signs didn't apply to them.
Greenall said anyone caught taking signs from flooded roads and not putting them back could face criminal charges.
''Doing that is an act of endangering public safety,'' he said.''A lot of people are just acting like plain idiots.''
Porter said road crews put out signs as quickly as possible, but they couldn't be everywhere at once.
The situation was not helped by people interfering with signs or lights put in place for public safety purposes, he said.
"Every driver in Marlborough should be aware that this region has floods from time to time and that any stretch of floodwater should be approached cautiously," he said.
Vehicles ploughing through flooded areas could also cause problems for road crews doing clean-up.
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