Heavy rain and windy weather could make for tricky driving and travel conditions in Kent this weekend as many people look to start their holidays.
Yellow Met Office warnings are now in force for wind, rain and thunderstorms from Friday afternoon through to Sunday.
With schools now out for summer, and most COVID-19 restrictions lifted, Kent’s roads will get busy again and people driving in or through the county are being urged to follow some simple steps to be prepared for ‘Every Single Journey’.
Simple safe travel steps to take include:
- CHECKING your route before you travel – for where to go for the latest traffic and travel updates in Kent visit Kent County Council’s Travel & Transport page here
- ALLOWING extra time to get to your destination – because traffic jams can happen anywhere, particularly in unsettled weather
- PACKING your car with essentials – including food, water, any medication you need and supplies such as extra nappies if travelling with children, and
- CHECKING your vehicle (tyres, lights, fuel, oil and water) before you set off – most breakdowns are avoidable. For more information on how to check over your vehicle go to the Highways England website here
Passengers heading to the Continent via the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel should also ensure they have at least six months left on their passport, and meet any COVID requirements, to avoid being turned back at border control. For all the latest updated travel guidance visit GOV.UK here
If you are stuck in a traffic jam:
- Stay in your car – emergency vehicles will be moving through the traffic and the queues could start moving at a moment’s notice
- Keep in touch with the travel and the weather news – so you know what’s happening
- If you need medical advice call 111 or visit 111.nhs.uk – 111 will help you get the right care. Please only call 999 in an emergency
- Please take your rubbish home with you for recycling or safe disposal – keeping a bag in your vehicle to collect up food packaging and other waste is a handy way to stop litter reaching the roadside where it can cause a danger to other road users, the environment and wildlife.
In advance of this ‘get-away’ weekend, the Kent Resilience Forum has put back the Operation Brock contraflow between junctions 8 and 9 on the M20.
By separating freight and passenger vehicles, the Brock scheme helps ensure everyone keeps moving, even when traffic volumes are high. The barrier will be removed as soon as the risk of disruption eases.
In turn, KCC’s Highways Director and Kent Resilience Forum Strategic Planning Lead Simon Jones said it was key anyone taking to the road, even for a short trip, took their own steps to be prepared in case of delays.
Simon Jones said: “It is important at this time that anyone choosing to use Kent’s roads plans their route, makes sure they are prepared for journeys to be longer than expected and stays in touch with the latest traffic and travel information.”
Highways England is also advising people driving in wet weather 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
To keep informed about driving conditions while on the move, drivers are advised to follow messages on the overhead signs and stay tuned to radio updates. Further information can be found by visiting the www.highways.gov.uk/traffic or calling the Highways England Information Line on 0300 123 5000.
For up-to-date weather information visit the Met Office website here
People can also check the Environment Agency’s website for current Flood Alerts and Warnings or follow @EnvAgencySE and #floodaware on Twitter for the latest flood outlook.