Officials have issued a warning to drivers as Storm Ciara could bring up to 70mph winds to some parts of Sussex on Sunday (February 9).
Highways England has advised drivers to take safety precautions after the Met Office issued an amber warning this week for East and West Sussex, which could see strong gales from 9am to 9pm.
A Highways England spokesman said gusts of 50 to 60mph are likely across many inland areas and around 70 mph in coastal areas.
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.”
A Highways England spokesman highlighted particular routes which should be handled with extra care and caution:
A27 Shoreham Flyover – near to Hove / Brighton;
M27 J8-J9, Hedge End to Locks Heath;
A2 Jubilee Way Close to Dover;
M2 J2-J3 Medway Viaduct;
A249 Kings Ferry/Sheppey Crossing;
A282 QE2 Bridge/Dartford Crossing;
A20 coastbound near Dover
The spokesman said that unladen curtain-sided vehicles are particularly vulnerable to windy conditions on high ground.
Richard Leonard said, “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.”
Road users are being advised to follow messages on any overhead signs and listen to radio updates. Further information can be found by visiting www.trafficengland.com or calling Highways England on 0300 123 5000.
Visit the Met Office website for more information.