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West Berkshire drivers urged to take extra care following Met Office warnings of heavy rain over weekend

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Highways England is urging drivers to take extra care on motorways and major A roads overnight and through the weekend 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.

Allow extra time and keep your distance
Allow extra time and keep your distance

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.

In heavy rain, visibility is difficult
In heavy rain, visibility is difficult

“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 down if 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 back from the vehicle in front as this will increase your ability to see and plan ahead
  • 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.

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 www.highwaysengland.co.uk, while up-to-date weather advice and information is available at the Met Office website www.metoffice.gov.uk/

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