Severe weather update: Getting to the airport in extreme weather conditions

March 2, 2016:Storm Jake is heading across the UK with an amber warning for wind issued over the south west of England

Use the following resources to ensure your trip is not hit by the extreme conditions currently affecting many areas of the UK.

Step 1: Weather forecast

Here’s the latest weather forecast for the UK. (Updated at times of extreme weather only)

Weather warnings

Forewarned is forearmed when it comes to weather. The UK can often be made up of a succession of microclimates, so just because it’s a balmy -2 degrees when you leave home, it doesn’t mean you won’t be motoring into snow-bound trouble as you head for your chosen airport. Check weather for as much of the route as possible; this will help you decide how much time you’ll need to complete your trip.

Use the following link to get a detailed five-day forecast from the Met Office. Check out your entire route and plan how much time you’ll need to allow

Check out the full UK weather forecast here

Step 2: Check flight delays at your airport

Drag and zoom the following map to check your departure airport for current average delay times

Step 3: Check live flood warnings right here

With four of the five wettest years recorded in the UK happening since 2000, it’s clear that flooding is a real threat to motorists heading out over the winter and festive period.

The Met Office says that while extreme rainfall will become less frequent in summer months, winter is likely to experience more extreme downpours, so being prepared is essential for drivers heading to the airport.

Floods can be fast and unpredictable, so use the following ‘live’ flood map to help pick a route that will avoid current incidents – and areas where waters could rise to spoil to block your progress.

Enter the area you want to search in the live flood warning map below.

Thanks to for providing access to this live flood warning map

Step 4: Check live traffic on approach to airport

Check out the traffic approaching your airport

Check out the traffic approaching your airport

When bad weather strikes, major approach routes to major airports are the likely to be hit hard. Check out our live traffic update gallery for routes approaching most UK major airports. For any others, check your route here.

Open the section below to see all traffic updates live.

Click here for instant live airport-bound road traffic


Click here for instant live airport-bound road traffic

Step 5: Download these apps

Get these smartphone apps for your in-car arsenal and you’ll stand a much better chance of beating the weather and making it to the airport on time.

Hands-Free Traffic Talker

Traffic news straight to your ears

Traffic news straight to your ears

What is it: Provided in association with the Highways Agency, the Hand-Free Traffic Talker app will automatically keep you updated with traffic problems as you head towards them. You set how many miles radius you want alerts for. No need to register an account, simply turn it on and let your phone’s built-in GPS tech stream relevant traffic problems direct to your car. You won’t need to be distracted by checking your phone, either – the alerts are automatically spoken as you drive. The app will stream notifications of problems on motorways and major A-roads throughout England. It will also broadcast alerts and updates on earlier issues.
How much: Free
Get it for Android and iOS

Battery Doctor… Extend your phone’s battery life

Keep your battery full of juice

Keep your battery full of juice

What is it: Staying in touch is important when heading out in poor driving conditions, so always ensure your phone if fully charged. Most people will have a phone charger, but one of the big problems associated with cold weather is a flat battery – so charging your phone won’t be an option. However, downloading an app such as Battery Doctor will help keep your device powered-up for longer. It ensures your handset gets a proper, full charge when your top it up with a unique three-cycle system. It also has a task killer that stops power-sapping apps that drain power while not in use. Must-have for winter driving.
How much: Free
Get it here for Android
Get it for iPhone… flood map

Are rivers about to flood on your route?

Are rivers about to flood on your route?

What is it: As we’ve seen in the UK, flash floods can cause big problems for motorists. However, drivers can help avoid the risk of being caught out by logging on to and using the interactive map to search for rivers on their planned journey. Amazingly, motorists can then follow the individual rivers on Twitter and receive live updates on river levels and flood risks as they drive. Make friends with rivers on your route whenever you travel.
How much: Free
Get it for you your phone: Go to then follow rivers on your Twitter app.

Red Cross First Aid

First aid if the worst should happen

First aid if the worst should happen

Bad weather and darker evenings can increase the chance of being injured in a road accident, but would you know how to help in the event of an accident? This app features simple, easy advice on everyday first aid scenarios as well as how to prepare for emergencies from severe winter weather to road traffic accidents. Use the videos and step-by-step guides to help you stay safe and help others. The information is all hosted locally, so you won’t need an internet connection to access it in the event of an emergency.
How much: Free
Get it here for Android and iOS

Staysafe Tracker… make sure someone knows where you are

Let someone track your progress

Let someone track your progress

What is it: Heading out on a road trip in winter weather, then this GPS tracker app will ensure that a family member or friend can keep an eye on your progress to make sure you’ve not hit problems. From breaking down or being trapped by a flood in remote locations, this app will help alert others to your predicament – even when you don’t have a phone signal. The tracker uses separate GPS technology. It will automatically email or text your location to an ‘emergency’ contact (defined by you) if you fail to check-in as expected. An exact GPS location will be provided so that you can be instantly located.
How much: £4.99
Get it here for Android
Get it here for iOS

What Gas… fuel finder and prices

Don't run out of fuel again

Don’t run out of fuel again

What is it: Running out of fuel in winter can be extremely dangerous as temperatures plummet – which is why you should fill-up your app arsenal with the What Gas fuel finder. Use the app to find the nearest petrol stations selling petrol, diesel, and LPG. No more panic as the needle nudges zero.
How much: £free
Get it here for Android
Get it here for iOS

STAY SAFE 1: Beat tiredness

Driving through bad weather can make you feel more tired than usual - take a break

Driving through bad weather can make you feel more tired than usual – take a break

Even if you haven’t taken an over-the-counter medicine, bad weather, long drive and early flights all combine to make tiredness a seious foe when heading to the airport. Always leave yourself at least 40 minutes extra to let you fight your droopy eyelids should they strike. Here’s our guide to tackling tiredness on the road. Remember – never keep driving when tired.

Click on the tabs below to find out about fending off tiredness on the road.

Myth: Having a sleep will make me more groggy and tired.
Truth: Pulling over in a safe place and having a nap will help fend off tiredness and improve your cognative skills for driving – however, you must make sure you nap is no more than 10-15 minutes. Going too far beyond this will make slip into a deep sleep phase, which’ll be hard to wake up from and will leave you feeling groggy. Make sure you set an alarm on your phone before you have a sleep.

The perfect nap: Here’s how to prepare for that all-important nap…
a) Find a safe place to park (never on the side of a road). Set an alarm so you don’t oversleep.
b) Recline your seat… it takes up to 50% longer to fall asleep when sitting in an upright position.
c) Cover yourself in a light blanket, but make sure it’s not too heavy and warm or this will promote longer, deeper sleep.
d) Park in an area away from bright lights.
e) Calm your breathing and relax muscles starting from your feet and moving upwards.
f) Relax your mind by imagining a favourite walk, or lying on the beach at your destination…
g) Zzzzzz

Myth: Having a coffee will stop me being able to have a nap.
Truth: It sounds odd, but caffeine takes up to 30 minutes to take effect, so pull over imbibe your black stuff then get your head down. You should then wake up feeling alert and ready to go.

Find a coffee near you: In need of a coffee – don’t just rely on finding an expensive motorway service station, use this BeanHunter smartphone app to find the closest cup of coffee to you – wherever you are in the world.
Download BeanHunter here


STAY SAFE 2: Don’t hit the medication

Winter brings bad traffic and ailments... but medications can hit your driving

Winter brings bad traffic and ailments… but medications can hit your driving

Winter – and especially the festive season – can see a big rise in the amount of colds and flu-like symptoms from over-indulgence at the Christmas party etc. However, don’t be tempted to raid the medicine cabinet to help you survive a long difficult drive to the airport – it might have the opposite effect. Driving to the airport in bad weather requires you to be fully alert.

See new our guide to important new legislation affecting driving while using prescription drugs.

Don’t believe us?

Don’t believe us: A study by the Transport Research Laboratory found 5.2% of drivers killed in road crashes had traces of medicinal drugs that could have affected their driving.

Possible effects of over-the-counter medication

Possible effects of over-the-counter medication: Research reveals that everyday cold remedies and the like can cause drowsiness and affect concentration, increase reaction times, make you edgy and angry, and impair your overall driving ability. Combine these effects with driving in bad weather, the stress of getting to the airport on time and you’ve got a potentially lethal combination.

What medications should I avoid?

What medications should I avoid: People react differently to medications, but the following can all cause problems for drivers…

Cough remedies,
Cold and flu treatments
Some eye drops

How to avoid taking medication altogether?

How to avoid taking medication altogether: If you’re feeling below par, it’s best to let someone else drive to the airport, but if that’s not possible, get plenty of sleep, drink lots of water and lay off the medication.

Anything else I need to know?

Anything else I need to know: Yes – driving while impaired by drugs – legal or otherwise – can result in prosecution. Worse still, you could kill or cause serious injury if not completely alert while driving.

How can I prevent this from happening?

How can I prevent this from happening: Read the label and look out for warnings that the medicine could cause drowsiness. If you’re taking other medicine, always speak to a doctor or pharmacist to see if there’s a chance the drugs could interact and make driving too dangerous.