Highways England urges drivers to take extra care following heavy rain forecasts

Drivers are being urged to take extra care this weekend

This is due to the potential for heavy rain. Following Met Office yellow warnings for rain, wind and thunderstorms, through tonight, tomorrow and into Sunday, Highways England is asking drivers in the South West, South East, East and South Midlands to be aware and to drive to the conditions.

The Met Office Amber alert for extreme heat has now been lifted, but rain is expected to spread from the South West tonight, with potential thunderstorms, and heavy but isolated downpours – possibly hail – in Devon and Cornwall, spreading through the region and across the South East, East and South Midlands later on Saturday and into Sunday.

National Network Manager Amy Shaw said: “It’s really important for people to adapt their driving in rain.  “Rain makes it harder for tyres to grip the road and harder for drivers to see ahead – significantly increasing the chances of being involved in a collision. “Hail showers on higher ground can also create issues. These can happen with very little warning, resulting in short lived but treacherous driving conditions.  “We’re encouraging drivers to be aware and to check the latest weather and travel conditions before setting off on journeys.”

In wet weather Highways England advises drivers to: 

  • Slow downif the rain and spray from vehicles is making it difficult to see and be seen and remember that stopping distances will be at least double in wet weather, because your tyres will have less grip on the road.
  • Keep well backfrom the vehicle in front as this will increase your ability to see and plan ahead
  • Ease off the acceleratorand slow down gradually if the steering becomes unresponsive as it probably means that water is preventing the tyres from gripping the road

Following the easing of Covid restrictions, and the first weekend of the school holidays, traffic levels are expected to be high and Highways England is also asking people to be prepared for any long journeys.

Before heading out on the road:

  • Take bottles of water with you to ensure you stay hydrated;
  • Plan and leave plenty of time for journeys;
  • Check the weather forecast for your destination;
  • Check travel conditions before setting out and, where it is safe to do so, during journeys;
  • Ensure you and your cars are fit for the journey, particularly tyre pressures and condition of tyres.

For more information on how to check over your vehicle go to the Highways England website here, while up-to-date weather advice and information is available at the Met Office website here.

Highways England will also be providing regular traffic updates on its regional Twitter feeds: @HighwaysSWEST, @HighwaysEAST, @HighwaysSEAST, @HighwaysWMIDS

To keep informed about driving conditions during their journeys, drivers are advised to follow messages on the overhead signs and listen to radio updates. Further information can be found by visiting the www.highways.gov.uk/traffic or calling the Highways England Information Line on 0300 123 5000.