Police warn motorists to take care in severe weather

SUSSEX Police have warned drivers to take care on the roads this Christmas.

With forecasters predicting heavy rain and storm force winds over the next couple of days, Sussex Police have warned drivers to be ready for the conditions and to allow enough time for journeys that may be disrupted by the weather or busier roads as people head off for the Christmas break.

PC Paul Collard from Sussex Police’s Operations department said: “It’s looking likely that we are in for a spell of extremely rough weather and it’s really important that drivers and other road users don’t let their concentration be lulled by thoughts of the holiday ahead.

“There will probably be significant expanses of surface water and while not impassable, they can be very hard to see, especially in the dark, and hitting one at even moderate speed can cause complete loss of control. If you do come across a flooded section of road, don’t contemplate trying to drive through it unless you are absolutely confident that it is shallow enough to do so and that there isn’t a stream or river causing a current that may sweep you off the road.

“Even if your vehicle is built for more extreme conditions, consider the dangers and also the effect that your passage through flood water may have on other road users or properties alongside the road.

“Be prepared for sudden gusts of wind that may affect your control of your vehicle and be prepared for debris in the road or even a fallen tree. Also, be extra cautious of other road users, especially those on two wheels who are even more at the mercy of the wind and rough weather.

“Make sure your vehicle is ready for your journey, no matter how short. Use your wipers, make sure your windscreen wash tank is topped up, your lights are working and aren’t obscured by mud or dirt.

“Ultimately, it’s your decision as to whether it’s safe to travel and you must take personal responsibility for your and others’ safety. We’re just keen to see everyone enjoying the forthcoming festive season and arriving safely at wherever they may wish to be.”

Other agencies across Sussex are also watching the weather carefully and are ready to respond to ensure that the county runs smoothly as Christmas approaches. With the wind in particular expected to be very strong, businesses and homeowners with festive decorations and lights outside are being asked to make sure that they are secure and don’t cause a hazard, either by being blown away or by becoming damaged and presenting an electrical danger.

PC Collard concluded: “Keep listening to your local radio stations for up-to-date weather and travel advice and if you are out and about, keep safe.”