Highways England are urging drivers to take extra care on motorways and major A roads overnight and tomorrow morning during Storm Aileen.
The amber ‘be aware’ alert has been issued across the country in response to a Met Office forecast of strong winds and heavy rain, which comes into force at 9pm tonight and runs until 9am tomorrow morning.
Westerly winds are expected to increase during the this evening into the early hours tomorrow morning with gusts in excess of 60 miles per hour possible over exposed roads during the night. Winds should begin to decrease during the morning peak period.
Drivers of lorries, caravans and motorbikes are being advised to avoid 53 exposed sections of the road network across the country.
Richard Leonard, Head of Road User Safety at Highways England, said: “We’re encouraging drivers to check the latest weather and travel conditions before setting off on journeys, with strong winds and heavy rain expected from Tuesday evening until Wednesday morning.
“In high winds, there’s a particular risk to lorries, caravans and motorbikes so we’d advise drivers of these vehicles to slow down and avoid using exposed sections of road if possible.”
It generally takes at least twice as long to stop on a wet road as on a dry road because tyres have less grip on the surface. In wet weather you should:
• Slow down if the rain and spray from vehicles is making it difficult to see and be seen
• 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
Drivers are being advised to follow messages on the overhead signs and listen to radio updates. Further information can be found by visiting the www.highways.gov.uk/trafficor calling the Highways England Information Line on 0300 123 5000.
Locations to avoid across the North West:
M53 J1-J2 - Wallasey to Birkenhead
M56 J12 - Runcorn and Sutton Weaver
M58 J1 - Kirkby
M6 J20-J21 - Thelwall Viaduct
M6 J26-J27 - M58 to Standish
M6 J36-J45 - Through Cumbria
M60 J10-J12 - Barton Bridge through to M62
M60 J16-J17 - Pendlebury and Kersley to Prestwich and Whitefield
M62 J18 - J27 - Between Manchester and Leeds
M61 J4-J5 - J5 Westhoughton
M61 J9 / M65 J1 - Interchange
A56 - Between M65 and A680 at Edenfield
M65 J3-J4 - Withnell and Blackburn Interchange
A66 - Between M6 J40 - A1 (Scotch Corner)
A69 - All of it