Storm Ciara: Motorists warned to take 'extra care' on M27 during high winds this weekend
MOTORISTS are being warned to take ‘extra care’ when driving on the M27 during Storm Ciara this weekend.
An amber weather warning has been issued for very strong winds on Sunday for across the Portsmouth area.
Storm Ciara is expected to bring gales with speeds of up to 64mph and Met Office has warned that there is a ‘good chance’ of power outages.
Highways England are urging motorists to be extra careful when driving on exposed sections of the motorway network in the region.
This includes on the M27 between junction 8 and junction 9, Hedge End to Locks Heath.
Road users, particularly drivers of high-sided HGVS, caravans and motorcycles, are advised to check the weather and driving conditions before setting out on journeys and pay particular attention to exposed locations such as coastal and high lying areas and bridges which could be affected by the high winds.
Highways England’s head of road safety, Richard Leonard, said: ‘We’re encouraging drivers to check the latest weather and travel conditions before setting off on journeys and consider if their journey is necessary and can be delayed until conditions improve.
‘If you do intend to travel, then plan your journey and take extra care, allowing more time for your journey.
‘In high winds, there’s a particular risk to lorries, caravans and motorbikes so we’d advise drivers of these vehicles to slow down.
‘Drivers of other vehicles should be aware of sudden gusts of wind which can affect handling and braking, and give high-sided vehicles, caravans, and motorbikes plenty of space.
‘In the event of persistent high winds we may need to close bridges to traffic for a period, so please be alert for warnings of closures and follow signed diversion routes.’
Unladen curtain-sided vehicles are particularly vulnerable to windy conditions on high ground.
Richard Leonard added: ‘Curtains on empty high-sided vehicles can act as sails when closed, and when high winds arise, we advise HGV drivers to open their curtain-sided vehicles if they are empty.’
A Freight Transport Association advisory states ‘When driving an empty curtain-sided vehicle, tie both curtain sides at one end of the vehicle to reduce the effect of side winds’.