DCC Police Update – Road safety partnerships urges drivers to stay at home during Storm Eunice
The Vision Zero South West road safety partnership is urging drivers not to travel on Friday, February 18 unless absolutely necessary as Storm Eunice approaches.
Published: 12 February 2022
A red weather warning for high winds has been issued for Storm Eunice by the Met Office, covering the entire north coasts of Devon and Cornwall. An amber weather warning is in place for the rest of the two counties.
Red weather warnings are very rare and winds up to 90mph are expected in parts of Devon and Cornwall.
Severe disruption has been predicted including flying debris, damage to buildings, power cuts, cancelled transport services and large waves in coastal areas. The Met Office says that fallen trees, floods and damaged power lines are also likely.
The red warning is currently in place from 7am to midday on Friday, February 18. The amber warning is in place from 5am to 9pm on Friday, February 18.
Vision Zero South West, the road safety partnership for Devon and Cornwall, is urging motorists not to drive during the storm unless their journey is absolutely essential.
Supt Adrian Leisk, strategic lead for roads policing in Devon and Cornwall, said: “Red weather warnings are extremely rare so I would urge everyone to take extreme caution under the circumstances.
“Please do not travel in your vehicle unless your journey is absolutely necessary. If you can stay or work at home, then please do – particularly in the morning when the red weather warning is in place.
“If you absolutely have to make a journey, leave early and give plenty of time to allow for any disruption. Drive slowly to give yourself maximum time to react, turn your lights on to make sure you are visible and, if possible, avoid travelling on roads located near trees or on the coast.
“At present, this weather warning is only in place for one day so please don’t put yourself and others in risk for the sake of a journey which doesn’t need to be made.”
The following advice has been issued by National Highways, the RAC and the Institute of Advanced Motorists:
Driving in storms, rain and high winds
Choices and planning ahead
- Even moderate rain can reduce your ability to see and be seen. A good rule of thumb is ‘if it’s time for your wipers, it’s time to slow down’
- If heavy downpours are expected, avoid starting your journey until it clears
- If you can, choose main roads, where you are less likely to be exposed to fallen branches and debris and flooding
- Use dipped headlights if visibility is seriously reduced
- Gusts of wind can unsettle vehicles – grip your steering wheel firmly with both hands. This is particularly important when planning to overtake
- Keep an eye out for gaps between trees, buildings or bridges over a river or railway – these are some of the places you are more likely to be exposed to side winds. Ensure that you maintain enough room either side of your vehicle so you can account for it being blown sideways
- Roads will be more slippery than usual in wet weather – be sure to give yourself more time to react when approaching a hazard. Increase your following gap to at least four seconds from the moving traffic in front
- Keep your eyes peeled on the road at all times as spray from other vehicles can suddenly reduce your visibility. Remember it affects others too, so anticipate their actions and be prepared.
What to do when the road is flooded
If the road is flooded, turn around and find another route. The number one cause of death during flooding is driving through flood water, so the safest advice is turn around, don’t drown.
The public are advised to stay away from swollen rivers and not to walk or drive through flood water. Although the water may seem shallow, just 12 inches (30cm) of moving water can float your car, potentially taking it to deeper water from which you may need rescuing.
Flood water also contains hidden hazards which can damage your car, and just an egg-cupful of water sucked into your car’s engine will lead to severe damage.
Never drive through flood water. Turn around.
You can sign up for free flood warnings for your area here.
Keep an eye out for cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians
Remember to give vulnerable road users including cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians more room than usual. They are more likely to be blown around by side winds – always keep a safe distance.
Flood water advice for pedestrians
- Avoid walking through floodwater, even shallow moving water can knock you off your feet.
- Keep children and pets away from flood water – it contains hidden dangers such as heavy debris, sharp objects, open manhole covers, sewage and chemicals.
What is Vision Zero South West?
Vision Zero is a shared commitment between a number of organisations across Devon and Cornwall. The one thing they all share is a commitment to cut the number of deaths and serious injuries in the region to zero.
Vision Zero is led by a partnership board which includes a wide range of experts from all around the South West including senior police and fire officers, leading clinicians, councillors and the police and crime commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
Vision Zero’s partners include:
- Cornwall Council
- Devon County Council
- Plymouth City Council
- Torbay Council
- Exeter City Council
- Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service
- Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service
- Devon and Cornwall Police
- Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly
- National Highways
- NHS University Hospitals Plymouth Trust
- Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust
- South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust
- Cornwall Air Ambulance
- Devon Air Ambulance
- Driving for Better Business
- Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS)
For more information visit www.visionzerosouthwest.co.uk. You can also follow Vision Zero on Facebook at www.facebook.com/visionzerosw, on Twitter at twitter.com/visionzerosw or on Instagram at instagram.com/visionzerosouthwest
For more information about this press release, or about Vision Zero South West, please contact Joel Cooper on firstname.lastname@example.org