Weather warning - drivers urged to take care

DRIVERS are being advised to take extra care on the roads and check the weather forecast and road conditions before they travel as the Met Office is forecasting another spell of persistent heavy rain and windy weather today and into Wednesday.

Heavy rain is likely to affect much of the country, especially the south and west of England. Strong winds are also expected to affect the south, particularly exposed parts of Kent and Sussex, around the middle of the day

Drivers are reminded that rain and spray can reduce visibility and when the road is wet it can take up to twice as long to stop so it makes sense to slow down. If your vehicle loses its grip, or "aquaplanes" on surface water, take your foot off the accelerator to slow down. Don't brake or steer suddenly as you will have no control of the steering or brakes.

Surface water may affect motorways and major A roads so drivers are advised to move slowly through any standing water and test their brakes once they're throug.

High-sided vehicles are particularly affected by windy weather but strong gusts can also blow any vehicle, cyclist, motorcyclist or horse rider off course. This can happen on open stretches of road exposed to strong crosswinds, or when passing bridges and high-sided vehicles

The Highway Agency's works closely with the Met Office to constantly monitor traffic conditions from its regional control centres. If lanes or carriageways have to be closed for safety reasons in severe weather, it works closely with the police and with local authorities to establish diversion routes, where appropriate.

The Highways Agency is advising drivers to plan their journey, check the weather forecast, road conditions and route for delays before they leave home and delay travelling if the weather becomes severe.

Drivers are also advised to carry warm clothes and an emergency pack, which includes food and water, boots, de-icer, a torch, a spade if snow is forecast, and to ensure they have plenty of fuel for the journey.