ROAD safety experts are warning drivers to take extra care when travelling in areas affected by the recent floods.
GEM Motoring Assist says that damage caused by the weather has created extra hazards.
Potholes have been made worse by rainwater and excessive amounts of mud, leaves and loose gravel has been deposited on roads throughout the country.
GEM road safety officer Neil Worth said: "Strong winds, accompanied by persistent heavy rain, has brought down many trees and weakened others in recent weeks.
"We urge all road users to be vigilant, as there is now the risk of many more trees falling, even with lighter winds.
"Pay particular attention in wooded areas and on twisting country lanes where it's difficult to predict what might be round the next bend."
The volume of recent rain has led to some of the country's worst flooding and even in areas which have escaped severe floods, there are still likely to be problems with blocked drains and gullies, meaning road surface water will be much slower to disappear.
"More potholes have appeared, with others sure to follow," said Mr Worth. "Since there has been so much rain, these potholes are likely to be full of water, meaning it's difficult to gauge just how deep they are."
He added that floodwater has brought huge amounts of debris onto road surfaces which has left many roads in a dangerous state.
GEM has issued the following safety tips to motorists travelling in areas affected by the conditions:
1. Turn on your headlights. Do not rely on automatic lighting systems - it's up to you to ensure you can see and be seen.
2. Slow down, allow extra distance for stopping and stay well back from the vehicle in front.
3. After heavy rain, expect all kinds of debris to accumulate on road surfaces - this is likely to reduce your vehicle's grip on the tarmac and increase your stopping distance, so adjust your speed to ensure you stay in full control.
4. Try not to drive through a pothole, especially if it's full of water. If you can't safely steer round it, slow down before you hit it and keep a firm grip on the steering wheel.
5. When it's safe, check your car for signs of damage if you have driven through a pothole. Look for one or more deflated tyres, cracks or bulges in the tyre, dents in the wheel rims or any shaking and pulling to left or right.
6. As potholes can be so damaging and dangerous, make sure you report any road damage to tha authorities. If you feel the danger is more immediate, contact the appropriate highways authority, local council or the police.