RAC advises queuing-motorists amidst continued Dover delays

RAC advises queuing-motorists amidst continued Dover delays
Drivers could face continued delays in Dover over the next few weeks after traffic disruption at the weekend resulted in huge tailbacks and lengthy waits.

The situation around the port is now said to have stabilised since Saturday and Sunday, when some drivers were stuck in 12-mile queues for as long as 15 hours.

UK Border Force officials have been drafted in to help deal with the disruption, which is currently said to be creating waits of around 30 minutes on the A20 approach to Dover.

The delays have been attributed to heightened security checks put in place by French border police in the wake of the terror attacks in Nice and Paris.

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This has been coupled with a huge surge in traffic volumes as British motorists head off on their summer holidays after schools broke up for the end of term.

And police warned that these two factors could combine to produce “delays over the next few weeks”.

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In addition, questions have been raised about the numbers of staff that were made available to deal with the vast amount of people travelling at the weekend.

After complaints that just one French officer was available to check in coaches on Friday night into Saturday, port authorities said six booths - four for cars, one for coaches and one for freight traffic - were manned overnight into Sunday.

Water supplies were dropped along the jam by police helicopter on Saturday, as motorists rationed their food and drink during the standstill.

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Motorists set to travel to Dover are still being advised to take food and water with them in case of delays.

Highways England said they had been working hard to keep people informed of progress on their routes.

A spokesman said: “We sympathise with those trapped in the traffic. We are working with our partners around the clock to minimise the delays as far as possible.

“Our electronic message signs are warning of the delays all the way up to the Midlands, we are tweeting regularly and have issued press releases to local and national media, and website channels.

“We urge people to plan their journeys and check road conditions before setting out.”

For those stuck in queues the RAC has issued the following advice

When should you switch off your engine in a traffic queue? Can you leave it running for a long time if you want to charge your phone or use the air-con?

As soon as it becomes apparent that traffic is stationary and will be for some considerable time, it’s advisable to switch off your engine to conserve fuel and to protect the environment. However, you also need to be mindful of the weather conditions as you may need to use the air-con if it’s hot or the heater in cold conditions for short periods so that no one in the vehicle is exposed to uncomfortable temperatures. It would be advisable to charge electronic devices at the same time as you are running the engine for cooling or heating the vehicle. Charging devices without running the engine will drain your vehicle’s battery and may lead to it not being strong enough to start your vehicle.

Is it a good idea to have an extra fuel can with you?

The RAC does not advise travelling with extra fuel in containers. The best advice if you are travelling to Folkestone or Dover is to make sure you have more than enough fuel for your journey and in case you need to run your engine in a queue to keep you and your passengers cool or warm.

Is it safe to get out of your vehicle and walk around?

In extreme traffic queues such as the situation this week on the roads around Folkestone and Dover motorists and their passengers will need to, and indeed should, get out of their vehicles from time to time. In doing so they should be very conscious they are still on a road and that there could be emergency vehicles using the hard shoulder or motorcyclists riding between stationary vehicles. 

Copyright Press Association 2016. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.