ESSEX drivers have been urged to “exercise a little common sense” after a number of vehicles got stuck in flood water.

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Heavy rain overnight on Monday left large amounts of surface water on the roads and prompted several river flood warnings from the Environment Agency.

There were problems in Colchester but the worst hit areas centred on a central belt of the county, including Danbury, Bicknacre and East Hanningfield.

Three people were rescued after a lorry got trapped in floodwater near Paper Mill Lock in Little Baddow, near Chelmsford, at around 10.30am on Tuesday.

Earlier, at around 9am, around 20 fire fighters were scrambled to rescue a man trapped on the roof of his car in May Lane, Sandon. Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS) – which sent crews from Chelmsford, Leigh and Great Baddow to the scene – said the car had been driven into about 4ft of floodwater.

Neil Fenwick, from ECFRS, said: “Every time there is flooding the service has to rescue people who have driven their cars into floodwater.

“When faced with water drivers should exercise a little common sense. If they can they should find an alternative route. If there is no way round they should park safely and get out to check the depth of the water before they drive into it.

“Just driving into water and hoping for the best is not an option, by the time you find out the water is too deep you are already trapped.”

Chief Inspector Nick Lee, of Essex Police, said: “Please drive at appropriate speeds as water running off the land can cause floods at unexpected locations. Also make sure you keep tuned in to the radio and if possible avoid roads that are affected by the flooding. It is also important to be aware that most cars have air intakes which are placed near the lowest point on the vehicle and if water is sucked into the engine it can cause significant damage and cause this to stop working.”

In the Colchester area police closed off an underpass leading from the A133 to the University of Essex on Tuesday morning, after it flooded.

Meanwhile the Environment Agency issued three flood warnings: for the River Wid in west Essex; The Wid and Cam at Chelmsford; and the River Mardyke near Purfleet.

David Kemp, flood resilience team leader at the Environment Agency, said it was the worst flooding the county had seen since April.

He added: “If we get any more rain the problems now will be exacerbated. But if we get 24 hours of dry weather then things will improve quite rapidly.”

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