RAC head of external affairs Pete Williams said: "The situation in Cumbria in particular has deteriorated rapidly with the arrival of Storm Desmond, and motorists are being faced with a large number of flooded roads. If dangerous conditions persist, we are urging drivers to consider if they really need to make a trip out.
"Even when the rain does stop, the risk of flooding will remain so the prospect for disruption will continue at least until the end of the weekend.
"Elsewhere conditions are extremely difficult with high winds and torrential rain in the north of England and Scotland. We would urge anyone driving to take extra care, reduce their speed and leave plenty of space between their car and the vehicle in front. And be wary of strong gusts which can blow you off-course particularly when driving in exposed areas, on coastal roads and when overtaking high sided vehicles.
"Don't forget to take your mobile and allow extra time for your journey and be prepared to turn around and find another route if you encounter flooded roads. If it is difficult to judge the depth of water then do not proceed - cars are not waterproof and if water is sucked into the engine this can cause catastrophic and very expensive damage."