Drivers are being urged to be prepared before setting out on journeys tomorrow (Thursday 23 February) after Highways England issued a severe weather alert for the country’s major roads.
An amber alert for gales will be in place across the North, Midlands and East between 6am and 6pm on Thursday in response to the strong winds and heavy rain forecast during Storm Doris.
Gusts of up to 70 miles per hour are expected on some roads, along with heavy rain and surface water. There is a particularly high risk to high-sided vehicles, caravans and motorbikes on exposed sections of the network.
Drivers of these vehicles are being strongly advised to avoid travelling on around 40 stretches of motorway and major A road while the alert is in place.
Richard Leonard, Highways England’s Head of Road Safety, said: “We’re expecting Storm Doris to have a significant impact on the roads throughout the day tomorrow so are urging drivers to consider changing their plans if necessary and to slow down in stormy weather.
“Drivers should look out for warnings on the electronic message signs and listen for updates in radio travel bulletins. Our traffic officers will also be ready to respond to any incidents during Storm Doris, and we’re urging drivers to respond to the changing conditions on the road to stay safe.”
Earlier this winter, Highways England launched a new safety campaign warning drivers that ‘when it rains, it kills’ after the latest statistics showed that people are 30 times more likely to be killed or seriously injured on the roads in rain than in snow.
The figures also reveal that travelling too fast for the current conditions was identified as a factor in 1 in 9 road deaths in Great Britain last year, with drivers failing to alter how they drive in response to changing conditions on the road.
It generally takes at least twice as long to stop on a wet road as on a dry road because tyres have less grip on the surface. In wet weather you should:
- Slow down if the rain and spray from vehicles is making it difficult to see and be seen;
- Keep well back from the vehicle in front as this will increase your ability to see and plan ahead; and
- Ease off the accelerator and slow down gradually if the steering becomes unresponsive as it probably means that water is preventing the tyres from gripping the road.
A new road safety video has also been produced which shows rain falling inside the home of a family imagined to have been involved in a serious road collision.
- M53 J1-J2 Wallasey to Birkenhead
- M56 J12 Runcorn and Sutton Weaver
- M58 J1 Kirkby
- M6 J20-J21 Thelwall Viaduct
- M6 J26-J27 M58 to Standish
- M6 J36-J45 Through Cumbria
- M60 J10-J12 Barton Bridge through to M62
- M60 J16-J17 Pendlebury and Kersley to Prestwich and Whitefield
- M62 J18-J27 Between Manchester and Leeds
- M61 J4-J5 Westhoughton
- M61 J9 / M65 J1 Interchange
- A56 Between M65 and A680 at Edenfield
- M65 J3-J4 Withnell and Blackburn Interchange
- A66 Between M6 J40 – A1 (Scotch Corner)
- A69 Entire route