MOTORISTS are being advised to avoid rural roads near Ongar after a woman had to be rescued from her car.

The driver became trapped at Hallsford Bridge, in Ongar Road, where the River Roding has burst its banks after a night of heavy rain.

Crews from Ongar, Waltham Abbey and Harlow were called to the scene shortly before 6am after the 22-year-old drove her car into the flood waters.

The woman was rescued and taken to dry land, but cars remain abandoned at the scene.

Epping Forest District Council is warning drivers there is no access from Stondon Rd, Ongar Rd or Mill Lane.

The Roding has also burst its banks in Roding Lane, Buckhurst Hill, leaving football pitches waterlogged. 

Essex Police have advised motorists not to attempt to drive through standing water and to take alternative routes.

Chief Insp Nick Lee said: "I would advise motorists to take great care when driving in these conditions and not to underestimate the depth of surface water.

"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.

"On the occasions where vehicles have become stranded they have caused additional problems for the emergency and recovery services, however despite stretched resources Essex Police has been able to respond to all those that called for assistance."