Drivers have been warned with Storm Agnes set to hit Swindon and Wiltshire on Wednesday and Thursday, with strong winds of up to 60mph set to batter the region.

These high winds can be a particular risk to lorries, caravans and motorbikes.

National Highways are now warning drivers to slow down and plan ahead to avoid using exposed sections of road if possible.

“Storm Agnes will approach southwest Ireland early on Wednesday and move across the UK before clearing on Thursday morning,” said Met Office Chief Meteorologist Matthew Lehnert.

“Gusts of 45-55 mph are expected widely inland and 50-60 mph over hills and around coasts,” he added.

To help drivers combat the strong winds and reduce the number of collisions expected, National Highways has created a checklist for drivers:

Avoid using vulnerable vehicles where possible

Certain types of vehicles are more prone to the effects of high winds, making road incidents more likely. These include motorhomes, vans, motorcycles, double decker buses and HGVs.

National Highways have advised that motorists with these vehicles consider delaying their journey until weather conditions improve where possible.

If you have to drive your vulnerable vehicle, drive slowly and leave extra space for other motorists around you who may be affected by side winds from your vehicle.

Keep to main roads where you can

Minor roads are more likely to be obstructed by fallen branches and debris, so keep to main routes if you can.  

When you’re on the road:

If you are driving in high wind conditions, it’s important to slow down, keep both hands on the wheel and stay focused on the road ahead, as you may encounter debris blown in by the wind or fallen trees.

Look out for gaps in trees and buildings, and high-sided vehicles. These areas are where you’re more likely to encounter side winds that could push against your vehicle. 

“With the stormy weather being forecast, it is important to plan ahead for your journey, and if weather conditions become challenging, adjust your driving behaviour and take extra care,” advised Steve Basterfield, National Network Manager at National Highways. 

“We have a section of our website dedicated to travelling amid storms, high winds and gales, and considerations for different types of vehicle, as part of our guide to travelling in severe weather.

“It’s also a good idea for people to check their vehicles, such as tyres, coolant and oil levels, before heading out to reduce the risk of breakdowns,” he added.