Drivers are being urged to take extra care on the roads as Storm Imogen has battered Britain with winds of nearly 100mph and waves as high as 19.1m off some coastlines.

The Highways Agency has issued a severe weather alert, warning drivers, especially those in high-sided vehicles, to take extra care. Motorists are being urged to be particularly aware when travelling on the M4 and M5 motorways on Monday afternoon.

Stuart Thompson from Highways England said:

“We’re urging drivers to please check their weather, make sure that they know what the driving conditions are before they set out on journeys and in particular, that they give attention to exposed locations like coastal areas and high-lying areas.”

There is also a warning that the winds could send huge waves spilling over barriers and harbour roads and onto the roads in coastal areas.

Devon and Cornwall Police commented:

“Police are advising people to take extra care on Monday 8th February after the Met Office issued an amber weather warning of very strong winds.

“Heavy rain and strong winds with gusts of between 60 and 70mph are likely from 3am on Monday morning.

“As a result, traffic disruption is expected due to fallen trees and flooded roads.

“Motorists are asked to drive carefully, allow extra time for their journeys and avoid all flooded areas.

“Members of the public are warned to stay away from coastal areas due to large waves, and asked to check outdoor bins and other items in the garden are secure.”

Expert Motoring Lawyer Ruth Peters provides the following advice:

“Consider whether you really need to make the journey. If it’s not essential consider delaying the journey. If you do need to drive then make sure you let a close family member of friend know your intended route and try not to travel alone. Always make sure you have your mobile phone with you and it is fully charged should you need to use it. Make sure you have extra fuel for your journey and plan your journey thoroughly.”

Check out our top tips for driving in stormy conditions:

  • Plan your journey – is there a route with less exposure? Choose a more sheltered route if you can
  • Do not speed and drive slowly enough to cope with the gusts. High winds can affect both handling and braking
  • Be prepared when driving in exposed areas as vehicles could be hit by sudden gusts of wind
  • Be very careful when overtaking high-sided vehicles. Driving past large vehicles can result in a sudden gust from the side as you pass
  • Make sure you hold the steering wheel firmly.
  • Give cyclists, motorcyclists, lorries and buses more room than usual. They get blown around easily by side winds.
  • Motorcyclists especially should avoid travelling in high winds as high cross winds can affect the handling of the motorcycle.
  • Keep extra distance between you and the car in front.
  • Make sure that you park your car in a safe place – avoid parking under trees, near buildings etc.
  • Do not attempt to drive through water. If you are unsure of the depth then the edge of the kerb is a good indicator. If you do go through water, drive on the highest section of the road.
  • Never attempt to drive through fast flowing water – you could easily get swept away.
  • Test your brakes after leaving flood water.
  • If your engine cuts out after driving through water, do not attempt to restart as engine damage may occur. Call for assistance and have the vehicle examined for damage.

Specialist Motoring Solicitor

Written by Ruth Peters, at Olliers Motor Law. If you are facing prosecution as a result of a motoring offence please contact out Specialist Motoring Lawyers on 0808 168 0017.

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