Centre for Road Safety

Never drive on flooded roads

The major cause of death during floods occurs when people enter or travel through floodwater. Dangers include driving, riding and walking through floodwater, and children playing in floodwater.

Roads and surfaces underneath floodwater can wash away and may not be visible from the surface. Floodwaters can change quickly and may contain hidden snags or debris, as well as chemicals, raw sewage, snakes, spiders and other hazards.

Never drive into floodwater. Stay safe and avoid any unnecessary travel.

Motorists in high-risk flood areas should be aware of evacuation routes and be prepared before extreme weather events. During floods, motorists should follow the advice of authorities and adjust their route accordingly to avoid driving into danger.

Contact your local council for local road closures or visit the Live Traffic NSW website for major road closures.

Conditions in floodwaters can change quickly. Roads or crossings that may have appeared safe a short time ago may quickly become dangerous. If in doubt about being able to cross, the safest choice is not to enter  floodwaters.

What to do if you’re trapped

  • For emergency help in floods call the NSW SES on 132 500.
  • In life threatening situations call 000 (Triple Zero).

Police have the power to close a road to traffic during any temporary obstruction or danger under the Road Transport Act 2013. The penalty for failing or refusing to comply with the closure is up to $2,200. Under the Road Transport Act 2013, a person must not drive a motor vehicle on a road negligently.

Driving through flood waters can damage your vehicle. It is recommended that if a car has been submerged in water that it be taken to a mechanic and checked.

The Victoria State Emergency Service website has more information on the dangers of driving through floods, warning how a small car can be moved by floodwater only 15cm deep.

Icy roads and wet weather

Motorists need to take extra care driving during the colder months, especially on wet or icy roads. Unpredictable winter weather can suddenly drop temperatures and create poor road conditions, even in unexpected locations.

Travelling on wet or icy roads increases the risk of a crash, even for experienced motorists on routes they know well. You need to slow down and use caution when driving in fog, wet or icy conditions.

If you encounter ice, slow down to maintain control of your vehicle and reduce the force of impacts that might occur.

Black ice

Motorists especially need to take care when driving at night or at dawn or dusk, when surface moisture and dew can freeze into black ice. Difficult to see, black ice can remain on the road even during fine days in shaded or low-lying areas.

Take notice of variable message signs with up-to-date information about the weather and road conditions.

Tips for safe driving in icy and wet conditions

  • Obey speed advisory signs and drive to the conditions
  • Slow down and watch for ice on roads, especially in shaded or low lying areas
  • Drive with your headlights on low beam.  You should only use your fog lights if driving in fog, mist, or other atmospheric conditions that restrict your visibility.
  • Watch for wildlife warning signs - many road accidents in snow and ice affected areas involve native animals crossing roads, particularly at night
  • Keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front. Braking in icy or wet conditions should be gentle to avoid skidding and losing control. Brake early and accelerate slowly.

Visit the Live Traffic NSW website or call the Transport Management Centre on 132 701 (24 hours) for details on road and weather conditions.