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.
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.
Gaugemap.co.uk… flood map
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 Gaugemap.co.uk 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 www.gaugemap.co.uk then follow rivers on your Twitter app.
Red Cross First Aid
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
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
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
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 – 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.
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…
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.