The Christmas getaway started in a blur of torrential rain for many drivers this morning with the weather causing widespread problems on the roads, reports the AA.
The Christmas getaway started in a blur of torrential rain for many drivers on Thursday morning with the weather causing widespread problems on the roads.
The AA’s flood rescue Land Rovers were kept busy on Friday dealing with the aftermath of Thursday's flooding.
Although the volume of flood-related work was significantly less than on Thursday, the AA is braced for a weekend of weather-related disruption with Saturday (22/12) being the main concern.
The areas at greatest risk of flooding are South Wales, Southern and South-west England and also across parts of South-east Scotland and North-east England.
as at 15:00
Darron Burness, the AA’s Head of Special Operations, says: “The amount of rain forecast for this weekend and into Christmas is causing some concern as it could cause localised flooding almost anywhere, which will inevitably affect people heading off for the holiday period.
“Before departing, check the Met Office weather alerts and traffic updates and plan your journey accordingly. If you’re travelling in rural areas, try to stick to the main roads where there’s likely to be a lower risk of flooding."
With so much rain expected, driving conditions could be pretty challenging at times with surface spray and standing water. Keep your speed down and leave at least a three-second gap between you and the vehicle in front.
Take a few minutes to check your car over and clean its lights. Pack a few extra warm and waterproof layers, food, water, torch, fully-charged mobile and an atlas or sat-nav in case of any unexpected diversions; and, if you’re travelling with children, take things to keep them entertained.
Commenting on the behaviour of a small minority of drivers on Thursday, Darron Burness says:
“Yesterday, we saw some drivers deliberately ignore the advice of the emergency services and proceed down flooded roads. Not only do they put themselves at unnecessary risk but it’s likely their insurer would take a dim view of this idiotic behaviour and reject any resulting claim.
“Roads are closed with your safety in mind, so don’t chance it, and stay out of flood water.”
Don't risk driving through flood water
As at 13:00
By 13:00 on Thursday (20/12) the AA’s ‘Special Operations’ flood rescue team has attended 224 cars driven through or stuck in flood water, across the South-west, south coast, Home Counties and Midlands. The worst affected area for flood-related call-outs was east Dorset and the New Forest.
Nationwide, the AA had attended more than 6,800 breakdowns by13:00 on Thursday, with breakdowns coming in at around 1,100 every hour (peaking at around 1,300 earlier) and the AA expects to attend up to 14,000 for the day, compared to around 9,500 on an average Thursday.
London has been experiencing high demand too but this is related to Christmas shopping traffic rather than to the weather.
Unfortunately, following this morning, some drivers will be asking Santa for a new car after driving down flooded roads
Darron Burness, the AA’s Head of Special Operation
Darron Burness, the AA’s Head of Special Operations, says: “The run-up to Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year for traffic so any bad weather can have a big impact on the roads.
“Unfortunately, following this morning, some drivers will be asking Santa for a new car after driving down flooded roads. It’s just not worth the risk, so stay out of flood water, as it can hide all manner of hazards and you seriously risk wrecking your engine or worse."
Those in areas at risk of flooding should check the Environment Agency website for the latest information and sign up for free flood warnings on the Environment Agency’s website or by calling the Environment Agency Flood Line on 0845 988 1188.
(21 December 2012)