Abstract Road runoff is a major source of environmental pollution, significantly threatening nearby aquatic habitats. Chemical analyses indicate high pollutant concentrations in the road’s “first flush”, but bioassays are more advantageous for addressing the cumulative effects of the numerous pollutants within the runoff. We used Bufo viridis embryos and larvae to assess the toxicity of road runoff from two major highways in Israel. We show, for the first time, that exposure to midseason runoff not only has an adverse effect on growth and development rates of B. viridis larvae but can also lead to increased rates of morphological deformations. Seasonal first flushes, despite having higher metal concentrations, did not adversely affect the toad larvae, apparently due to a counter effect of organic matter that potentially served as a supplementary energy resource. Road runoff can be a major cause for a qualitative decrease in the quality of aquatic habitats threatening amphibians in Israel.