Drivers heading to and travelling around Kent this weekend are being reminded that Operation Brock will be back in place from Monday morning.
The decision by the Kent Resilience Forum (KRF), made up of a group of organisations and agencies including Kent County Council and Kent Police in conjunction with National Highways – has been driven by significantly increased cross channel bookings for tourist traffic as well as hauliers heading back to the continent in time for the festive break.
Operation Brock enables strict management of HGVs on the M20 if necessary, allowing traffic to continue in both directions through a contraflow system.
Between now and Monday there is a level three cold weather warning in place from the Met Office. Arctic air over the country means temperatures are set to plummet with the risk of ice and wintry showers.
Gritters have been doing their rounds out on the county’s roads this week for the first time this season.
Not only is the message to take care while travelling during deteriorating weather conditions, but to plan ahead and make sure your vehicle is winter ready.
Check your route before you travel, allow extra time for your journey, check tyres before you set out to avoid unnecessary breakdowns and pack your car with essentials including food, water, regular medicines, family essentials and blankets and warm clothing.
KRF Strategic Lead, Simon Jones, said “The indications from Eurotunnel and the Port of Dover are that the next couple of weeks will see some busy peak periods, so KRF needed to act on the prospect of increased traffic during the winter getaway as the schools break up, coupled with the potential for bad weather causing delays. We do appreciate people’s patience while Operation Brock is in place, which is how we currently try to minimise disruption. It is so important to do everything we can to keep key routes through Kent moving, especially as Kent is host to some fantastic festive events and is home to a multitude of shopping opportunities. We want to ensure that everyone is able to get to where they want to go safely and as quickly as possible and to enjoy the festive period.”
Visit Kent Chief Executive Officer, Deirdre Wells OBE, commented: “Kent has a full, vibrant line up of festive events going on across December. From illuminated light trails at Leeds Castle and Bedgebury Pinetum to the first-of-its-kind Mission Christmas at the Historic Dockyard Chatham and free Christmas films on the big screen at Folkestone Harbour Arm, there is a wealth of events to keep people travelling around the county. It is essential that we do everything possible to minimise the delays on the roads so people can finally enjoy a lively Christmas period within the county.”
Essential winter driving advice for motorists:
- Stick to the main roads when you can and only travel if absolutely necessary
- SLOW DOWN – it can take 10 times longer to stop in icy conditions (you might need 10 times the normal gap to the car in front)
- Use a higher gear as it will help avoid wheel spin
- Accelerate gently using lower revs. You may need to initially move in second gear to avoid skidding.
- Try not to brake suddenly – it may lock up the wheels and increase the skid risk
- Be particularly cautious at junctions where road markings may not be visible
- Look out for the gritters and only overtake if it is safe to do so.
For more information, go online:
- A good place to start is KCC’s Check Before You Travel page
- National Highways has a travelling in severe weather guide and its travel updates are here You can also follow them on Twitter @highwaysseast
- Weather forecasts, warnings and information from the Met Office can be found here