Motorists told to check journeys as capital prepares for weekend of national mourning

National Highways is advising motorists travelling in and out of the capital to allow plenty of extra time as motorways and major A roads around London will be very busy over this weekend of national mourning.

Large numbers of people will travel into the capital during the period of Lying-in-State and the State Funeral and road users have been advised to check their journeys before travel and avoid peak times where possible. People are also being urged to stagger journeys out of the capital after the State Funeral on Monday to avoid the busiest mid-afternoon period.

Additional National Highways Traffic Officers have been deployed on key routes around London to carry out patrols, keep traffic moving and assist emergency services to clear any incidents should they occur.

Most planned closures of motorways – and the majority of those on major A-roads – in and out of London have already been suspended until Tuesday next week to reduce congestion. A similar postponement of planned motorway closures will also apply across the rest of the country from Friday evening and remain in place for the duration of the Bank Holiday weekend.

Motorway travel

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Service areas on motorways around the network will remain open during this time to support those travelling, which means parking, toilets, fuel, food and drink will be available, although there may be reduced levels of services at some locations on Monday. Drivers should check social media platforms and individual websites.

Roads in central London will be subject to extensive closures and drivers have been warned to avoid the area. Those travelling into London should check the TfL website - tfl.gov.uk/ for the latest travel information in the capital, including advice on using rail, Tube and bus services, plus cycling and walking routes.

Motorists should also check the National Highways website for information about travelling during the period of mourning. nationalhighways.co.uk/

Roads around Windsor are also expected to be extremely busy as a series of closures are enforced due to the Committal Service for Her Majesty The Queen on Monday. Details of other ceremonial events around the country are available at www.gov.uk/search/news-and-communications?.

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John McNeill, National Highways Service Delivery Manager for the East of England, said: “We are working with our partners to keep our network moving smoothly and to ensure that everyone who is planning to attend the memorial events can do so safely.

“We expect the roads to be busy with people looking to travel into the capital over the weekend. Extra traffic officer patrols will be out on the network to help anyone who might get into difficulty, but it’s important people remember to check their vehicle before setting off.

“The last thing anybody wants on the way to their destination is to have a vehicle breakdown. That’s why it’s really important people spend a few minutes checking their vehicles before setting off.”   

Simple checks are a way to make sure the vehicle is roadworthy. Things to consider are:  

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 Tyres: Ensure tyre pressures are suitable for the load and check the condition of tyres, including the spare. Look out for cuts or wear across the whole tyre including sidewall.  

 Engine oil: Check oil levels regularly and top up if needed. Take your car back to the garage if you’re topping up more than usual. 

 Water: Always keep your screen wash topped up with a good ratio of water and screen wash to maximise the cleaning efficiency so you can clear debris or dirt off your windscreen easily.  

 Lights: If your indicators, hazard lights, headlights, fog lights, reverse lights or brake lights are not functioning properly, you are putting yourself and your family at risk. In addition, your vehicle may fail its MoT. 

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 Fuel: Before setting out make sure you have enough fuel to get to your destination. Running out of fuel can put you, your family and other road users at risk unnecessarily.  

 If you experience problems with your vehicle and you can’t leave the motorway you should always try to go left - to an emergency area, a hard shoulder, motorway services or slip road hard shoulder.   

But if that is not possible and you have stopped in a live lane or feel your life is in danger you must stay in your vehicle with your seatbelt and hazard lights on and call 999 immediately.