With hot weather, holiday getaways and planned rail strikes in the coming days, National Highways has issued advice to motorists and their passengers.
With many people planning holiday getaways and others opting to drive on Saturday 13 August when nine train companies are set to strike, National Highways has outlined some top tips to help people keep traffic moving and make their journeys easier – including ensuring they carry out basic vehicle checks and have plenty of drinking water on board.
Although not expected to reach the record-breaking temperatures of last month, the Met Office has said the mercury could reach 36 degrees C in some places such as the South East of England.
The Met Office has issued a warning of extreme heat for later this week and the weekend in many parts of England, saying people could experience adverse health effects including sunburn, heat exhaustion and other heat-related illnesses. It also warns travel delays are possible and says more people will visit coastal areas, lakes, rivers and beauty spots.
Drivers travelling this week and coming weekend are being advised to:
- Take bottles of water before setting out to ensure everyone travelling stays hydrated
- Plan and leave plenty of time for journeys
- Check the weather forecast for your destination
- Check your vehicle before you leave
- Carry essential summer supplies such as snacks that won’t melt or get ruined in the heat, hats and sun block
- Check travel conditions before setting out and, where it is safe to do so, during journeys
Paul Beecher, National Network Manager at National Highways, said: ‘It is always important to plan ahead for your journey. This advice is no different during periods of hot weather and during the summer holiday season.
‘We urge everyone travelling to be well prepared and check their vehicles before setting out. These safety checks include checking your tyres, oil and coolant levels and importantly, ensuring you are carrying plenty of drinking water, fluids and provisions. You can visit our website to find out more information about travelling during hot weather.
‘We want everyone to arrive at their destinations safely, so please plan ahead and check travel conditions before starting your journey.’
During particularly hot weather, make sure your engine stays within the normal operating temperature range. However, if it begins to overheat, find somewhere safe to stop and allow it to cool down.
England’s motorways and major A roads are highly resilient to extremes of weather, including hot weather. The design standards applied to National Highways’ roads are considered best practice and are adopted by other countries around the world.
To keep informed about driving conditions during journeys, drivers are advised to follow messages on overhead signs and listen to radio updates. Further information can be found by checking the National Highways website for traffic updates, National Highways’ regional Twitter feeds or calling the National Highways Information Line on 0300 123 5000.
Simon Brown, Met Office Services Director, said: ‘We are seeing our second significant period of extreme heat in 2022. Whilst we will not see temperatures as high as in the extreme heat warning during mid-July, we are expecting to see the low to mid 30s in many parts of Southern England and into the North Midlands, up towards South Yorkshire and Manchester.
‘The difference is the time of the week which coincides with UK holiday turnaround and the duration is longer.’ Further weather advice and information can be found on the Met Office website here.
National Highways is advising drivers to plan their journeys in advance and carry out basic checks to make sure vehicles are roadworthy. Things to consider are:
- Tyres: Ensure tyre pressures are suitable for the load and check the condition of tyres, including the spare. Look out for cuts or wear across the whole tyre
- Engine oil: Check oil levels regularly and top up if needed. Take your car back to the garage if you’re topping up more than usual
- Water: Always keep your screen wash topped up with a good ratio of water and screen wash to maximise the cleaning efficiency so you can clear debris or dirt off your windscreen easily
- Lights: If your indicators, hazard lights, headlights, fog lights, reverse lights or brake lights are not functioning properly, you are putting yourself and your family at risk. In addition, your vehicle may fail its MoT
- Fuel: Before setting out make sure you have enough fuel to get to your destination. Running out of fuel can put you, your family and other road users at risk unnecessarily
Operation Brock: For people travelling to the Kent ports, drivers are also being reminded that Operation Brock is active on the M20. Operation Brock is a traffic management arrangement for traffic wishing to use Eurotunnel and the Port of Dover.
Drivers crossing the channel should:
- Plan ahead and check before they travel
- Leave plenty of extra time
- Bring some supplies in case of delays (water, food etc)
- Follow the signs when they get onto the M20
Drivers heading for the Kent ports can check on the status of Operation Brock here: nationalhighways.co.uk/travel-updates/operation-brock