Impatient motorists risked waterlogged engines by passing through a flooded road at an exceptionally high tide.

The Strood to and from Mersea Island was underwater during unusually high tides at the weekend.

Rising water levels were good news for kayakers, canoeists and paddleboarders who had their courses temporarily extended.

But despite repeated warnings, several motorists ignored advice and decided to take the risk to drive through it.

At least one had to be pushed out of the water by bystanders, but it is not believed emergency services were required to attend this time.

A petition has been launched to fine anyone who attempts to cross the flooded road and has to be rescued.

More than 400 people have backed the proposal.


Veteran borough and county councillor for Mersea John Jowers said it was more likely to be visitors who take the chance rather than residents and that a plan to raise the level of the road was deeply unpopular.

“Years ago, there was a proposal to raise The Strood,” he said.

“It would only have been a foot or nine inches and it would have taken away the problems for all but the highest tides; it would have taken away 70 per cent of the problems.

“But it went down like a lead balloon.

“People who live here are incredibly proud of being an island and didn’t want anything which might take that away.

“But what they do is buy a timetable and plan their days around it.

“I took a trip out on Sunday and left an hour before the high tide.

“When you look at how often the emergency services are called out to rescue people it is not very often at all.

“But some people, and it genuinely is usually visitors, look at the water and think: ‘I can get through there.’

“What they don’t realise is, even if they do, it is salt water but the damage and corrosion which can be done to chassis and other parts of the car is phenomenal.

“Some insurance companies won’t pay out for idiocy and even if they do, some people are going to find they are paying quite large premiums in the future.

“A lot of people in larger cars think they can get through it but the air filters are on the bottom and it gets sucked in.”

Mr Jowers said he would like clearer signs to warn drivers.

“My concern at times is likely lads who drive at speed on The Strood at night,” he said.

“If you hit two feet of water without knowing it is there then it is dangerous.

“A large illuminated sign will cost an incredible amount of money.

“What really annoys people is if a motorists does take on the tide, conk out in the middle and then leave it there.

“Then two queues about two miles long have to pass this car in the middle.

“You can’t transplant intelligence into people.

“My suggestion would be to either turn around, get yourself a sandwich and come back.

“Or, simply wait for half an hour and be patient.

“You do not have to be a genius to know if there is a queue and a flooded road you probably should not drive on it.”