With the school summer holidays almost upon us, and more drivers using its roads, the Highways Agency is urging road users in the South East to check and maintain their vehicles this summer – as figures reveal that 1,541 of incidents on the region’s roads last summer were potentially preventable.
It is also using data from previous years to analyse popular routes and times in the South East – allowing drivers to better plan their journeys.
Agency figures show that out of 19,321 incidents in the South East last year during the summer months, 1,541 of them were potentially preventable – with 1,403 tyre-related breakdowns and 138 out-of-fuel breakdowns.
Simon Sheldon-Wilson, Director of Traffic Management, said:
We’ll be doing all we can during the summer to ensure road users get to their destinations smoothly and safely. Our traffic officers will also be on hand to clear incidents from the roads and get traffic moving as soon as possible.
It’s vital that people check and maintain their vehicles before setting off. A single preventable breakdown can cause chaos for thousands of people – and congestion costs the economy an estimated £3bn every year.
Inevitably there will be times where routes become congested, and many people will be driving on unfamiliar roads, so we ask road users to help themselves by planning ahead to avoid peak times, using our journey planning tools and allowing enough time for their journeys.
Chief examiner of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, Peter Rodger adds:
A major cause of breakdown is running out of fuel. Check that – and while you’re doing it, water, oil and tyres – and you will be well on the way to preventing a breakdown that could make your summer getaway an unpleasant experience instead of the brilliant one you hoped for.
The Agency has analysed traffic information from the last three years for two key summer periods – the first weekend of the school holidays for many areas (18 to 20 July) and the August bank holiday weekend (22 to 25 August). For each of these periods, they have identified routes that can become busy.
Journeys to the Channel ports, Heathrow and Gatwick can become busy at specific peak times on 18-20 July and 22-25 August. The Agency will be suspending or completing as many road works as possible during the bank holiday period to help road users.
Drivers can check planned road works on motorways and major A roads in advance on the Agency’s website. Just before they set out they can get up-to-date information about incidents and congestion hotspots on the road network by calling the Agency’s helpline on 0300 123 5000 or by checking Twitter.
Information about the Agency’s road network is available on the Traffic England website and drivers can download a live traffic info app to their smartphone so they can check on current road and traffic conditions while en-route. But remember it is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving.
Members of the public should contact the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000.
Journalists should contact the Highways Agency press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.