Road users ignore winter weather warnings

Almost half of road users would make journeys in spite of severe weather warnings, according to Highway Agency research.

The research also found that a fifth of those questioned do not check weather warnings before travelling on the roads, while one in ten people do not listen to the radio for warnings while driving.

Over 40% of those questioned also failed to check their water and oil levels before making a trip during winter months, while 30% also failed to check they had enough anti-freeze, the research also found.

Chief Highways Engineer, Ginny Clarke, said: "We want road users to be better prepared, to carry the right equipment and to take note of the information we and the Met Office are providing, so that they can make better decisions on whether they need to travel when the weather is bad."

Earlier this week, the Met Office warned that Britain faced another spell of wintry weather over the weekend and into next week. Snow, sub-zero temperatures and ice are all forecast in what the Met Office said could be "the most significant period of winter weather yet this season".

The Highways Agency and the Department for Transport's Think road safety campaign recommend the following top tips for safe driving in wintry weather:
  • Make sure you are prepared for bad weather conditions;
  • Check weather forecasts and listen to travel information while driving;
  • Carry a 'winter weather' kit
  • Exercise caution around winter service vehicles;
  • Allow extra time to slow down and stop in icy conditions
  • Use a high gear, manoeuvre gently and avoid harsh breaking and acceleration.
The Agency said that many drivers were not sufficiently prepared for bad weather, with only a third saying they would carry any form of extra winter weather equipment in their vehicle.

The Agency recommends that all road users should carry such a kit – containing warm clothes, food, water, boots, de-icer, a torch and a spade – during winter months.

The research found that less than half of those questioned would carry warm clothes in their vehicle, while less than a third would take food and drink with them on their journey.


Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

13 November 2007
Women Motorists 'More Prepared' For Bad Weather
Women drivers are more likely to get caught out by severe weather, according to new research published by the Highways Agency. A survey of nearly 1,300 road users showed that women were less likely than men to make a journey by car after hearing a severe weather warning. Only 44% of women said that they would continue, compared with 62% of men.
08 November 2011
Roads Minister Urges Drives To 'Take Time'
The Highways Agency, which is responsible for England’s motorways and other strategic roads, is urging road users to make time for winter and prepare for severe weather. The agency said it had a fleet of 500 "state of the art" winter vehicles on stand-by, supported by tried and tested winter resilience plans.
16 December 2008
Real Help Where It's Needed Most - Winterton
Following the coldest start to winter in 30 years, the Government today formally ordered a special one-off payment of £60 to 15 million vulnerable people to help them through the winter and ease worries they have with their bills.
21 February 2005
Heavy snow expected across Britain
Drivers are being warned to be extra cautious as the UK faces a weeklong spell of treacherous winter weather. Heavy snow is expected across the UK and the Met Office has issued severe weather warnings for northeast England, Yorkshire and Northern Ireland.
17 December 2004
Highways Agency and Met Office 'ready for winter'
Gritters and snowploughs are on standby, tested plans are in place to tackle ice and snow, and a new partnership with the Met Office will aim to provide motorists with better information as the Highways Agency prepares for winter weather.