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AA warns drivers to heed flood warning signs

With the organisation having attended around 3,200 flood-stricken vehicles since 1st December, the AA’s flood rescue team, AA Special Operations, says that a review of road signage around flooding and is warning drivers of the penalties for ignoring them.

Previous research by the AA and Environment Agency conducted before the recent floods showed that the equivalent of 680,000 drivers would ignore a "road closed" sign and drive down a flooded road rather than take a short detour.

Darron Burness, head of the AA’s flood rescue team, said: ‘While our crews have heard every excuse, it’s become clear that the signage around flooding isn’t as effective as it perhaps should be.

‘Part of the problem is that the “road closed” sign isn’t always completely understood. Some people may think it’s just advisory, as it’s a temporary sign just like those often seen at roadworks. For example, a lady in Buckinghamshire told our patrol that she didn’t think the sign applied as it was only on one side of the road, so she simply drove round it.

‘But it’s actually an offence to ignore any traffic sign, attracting a £50 fine, if spotted by the police. If it’s deemed to be careless driving, you’ll likely be £100 lighter and possibly get three points.

He added: ‘The traffic sign regulations are being reviewed later this year and we’d like to see signage around flooding included. A “no entry” sign, for example, would possibly carry more weight with drivers but, at the moment, it’s for permanent situations only; or a police blue “road closed’ one would likely be more effective than the red one.’

The organisation also warned that ignoring such signs is not only illegal but may well lead to insurers rejecting a claim in the event of a subsequent problem. In addition, related traffic offences include a £50 non-endorseable Fixed Penalty Notice for disobeying a road closed or any other traffic sign and a £100 endorseable Fixed Penalty Notice and a possible three licence points if caught for careless driving.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.