COASTGUARDS have warned there could be a serious accident on the Holy Island causeway after a number of incidents when the tide was out.
A large number of cars have become stuck on the causeway this year after ignoring safe crossing times and becoming trapped by the incoming tide.
But now two accidents have occurred in the last few weeks when people have been using the crossing during safe times.
A family from the Hull area driving on Holy Island causeway hit a pool of water which had stayed on the crossing after the tide had gone out, at around 9.30pm on Friday.
The vehicle left the road and travelled around 100 metres over sand and salt marsh, before getting stuck in a ditch. Holy Island Coastguard attended and a local farmer used his tractor to pull the car free. The car was extensively damaged and may be a write-off while the family were shaken but uninjured.
The incident was the second case in a matter of weeks of a car leaving the road after hitting standing water, and the coastguard last night warned there could be a serious accident.
Coastguards and highways authority Northumberland County Council urged drivers not familiar with the causeway to take care when crossing, especially in the dark.
Ryan Douglas, coastguard station officer, said: “It is a danger if you are travelling along the causeway at speed and do not know the causeway. There could be a serious accident soon.”
He added: “That road changes all the time, you do not know what is going to be on it. If you are driving at speed you do not have time to stop.”
Simon Bevan, parish council clerk, added: “You would have seen it in the headlights, it is just like any other pool of water in the road on any road. It is unwise to hit it at speed.”
A county council spokesman added: “We would urge people to cross with absolute care.”
The car hit water which had not cleared from the causeway after the tide which covers it every day had gone out. It eventually came to rest in a ditch filled with water.
The family phoned 999 and were put through to police who passed the matter to the coastguard, which attended in the station 4x4.
It called Rodney Smith, of Beal Farm, who attended and towed the car out of the salt grass. The car had damage to its front.
An identical incident occurred on October 29. Mr Douglas said the farmer had done “a great job”.
He added of the driver: “He was adamant a wave had hit his car, we found that a bit strange. There are no tsunamis round here. He would have gone a lot further if he had not got stuck in the salt grass.”
The county council said it carries out maintenance of the causeway to prevent water remaining on the crossing after the tide has gone out. Its spokesman said: “We maintain it to the best of our ability. There is only so much you can do.”
Coastguards at Holy Island have attended 19 incidents this year where motorists have attempted to cross the causeway outside safe times, and got stuck in sea water. Friday’s incident was within the safe times, however.