The RAC is reporting a calmer day on the roads today across much of the UK however it is experiencing localised difficulties in the south owing to excess surface water and flood conditions and delays arising from the closure of the Dartford Crossing. The breakdown service which has been rescuing thousands of motorists during the Christmas getaway has increased patrol numbers by 10% to meet demand.
Kent, Hampshire and much of the West Country experienced high levels of rainfall and disruption yesterday. In Dorset Police rescued over 25 drivers from flood damaged vehicles across the county but the conditions here and in other localised parts of the West Country has prevented RAC patrols reaching some motorists.
RAC head of external affairs Pete Williams said: “We will rescue drivers as soon as conditions are safe to do so but regrettably some vehicles have suffered catastrophic engine damage resulting from driving through deep water which is sucked into the engine causing it to seize. This is likely to cause a repair bill that can run into thousands of pounds or even cause your vehicle to be written-off – a very expensive and unwanted Christmas present.”
“We have over 40 fully equipped 4x4 patrol vehicles which we allocate to the worst hit regions at times of adverse weather conditions. These are normal patrol vehicles with the added flexibility and handling of four-wheel drive so they can cope with the most extreme conditions and the patrol is still equipped with his normal diagnostic equipment and full tool kit to affect a repair and enable the motorists to continue on their journey.”
The RAC has increased patrol resource in Scotland and the north where poor weather and snow conditions are now affecting roads. Motorists are advised to leave plenty of time for their journey, reduce their speed and leave plenty of room between their car and the vehicle in front.
Williams said: “We would urge everyone travelling today and over Christmas to ensure their car is prepared for the conditions and that they have checked their oil, coolant, screen wash, wiper blades, lights, tyre pressure and tread. Time spent planning your journey in advance and checking on the RAC’s Route Planner for alternative routes will benefit you if you encounter difficult conditions on your route.
“And before you set out it is worth packing some extra supplies for your journey including snacks and refreshments and a flask of hot tea or coffee in case you are delayed. Extra warm and waterproof clothes will also be useful if you break down or have to get out of your car for some reason and don’t forget to ensure that your mobile phone is fully charged before setting off.”
Visit our winter driving section for more information.