Motorists have been urged to take greater care on Britain's roads after overnight downpours caused some drivers to abandon their vehicles as public highways flooded.

Bands of heavy rain have moved across England and Wales over the last 24 hours, causing some localised flooding and forcing the Environment Agency to issue dozens of alerts. Sandbags have been placed at entrances to homes in an effort to avoid a repeat of the damage caused last month.

Dozens of flood warnings were put in place by the Environment Agency, mostly in the south-west of England, with heavy rainfall is already causing disruption to Britain's transport network.

Devon and Cornwall Police said there had been a number of reports of standing water on roads, creating a risk of drivers aquaplaning and potentially losing control of their vehicles. In some cases, drivers abandoned their cars after becoming stranded in flood water, officers said.

The Environment Agency has issued more than 60 flood alerts - forecasting possible flooding - 50 of which were in the South West. Two dozen flood warnings - a more serious alert requiring immediate action - were issued, all in the West Country.

Helen Rossington, forecaster with MeteoGroup - the meteorological arm of the Press Association - said the effect of the overnight deluge was made worse by recent wet weather.

She said: "This band of rainfall is clearing out the way. It will be quite a nice day when it's gone. But we're expecting more rain and it will become more windy into Thursday. The rainfall will cause yet more problems."

Heavy downpours have already hit parts of central, southern and south-west England and south-east Wales this week, while strong winds have battered parts of the country. This could increase the risk of surface water flooding as wind-blown leaves and debris could block drains, the Environment Agency warned.

Earlier this week, more than 100 residents were evacuated from their homes and transport links were cut off after persistent heavy rain caused flooding in Scotland. A weather warning for heavy rain and strong and gusty winds is in place for western Scotland on Thursday, with warnings of possible flooding.

There is a weather warning for Thursday for south-western England and south-east Wales, with a band of rain coming through of 20-40mm (0.8-1.6 inches) and up to 60mm (2.4 inches) in the worst-hit areas, and winds with gusts of up to 50-60mph.