24/11/2005

Drivers urged to take care in wintry conditions

With the first severe wintry weather expected to hit the UK tonight, the Highways Agency has reminded drivers to be prepared and to slow down and take care in sleet and snow.

The Met Office is currently forecasting sleet and snow with strong winds across many parts of the UK tonight. Snow could affect traffic in Friday morning’s rush hour and later on Friday this risk is likely to extend gradually to cover more eastern counties of England.

Gritters will be treating motorways and other strategic roads where ice or snow is forecast. Maintenance teams will be gritting in advance of the cold weather, and will continue to treat motorways and other strategic roads throughout the cold snap.

But winter weather makes driving dangerous - and the Highways Agency and the Department for Transport’s 'Think' road safety campaign highlights six important messages:
  • In winter, the weather can change quickly. If there is severe weather do not travel unless your journey is essential. If you must drive, always be prepared for bad weather;
  • Plan your journey before you go. Check your route for delays and check the weather forecast. While you are driving listen to the travel news on the radio;
  • In case you get stuck, keep warm clothes, food and water, boots, de-icer, a torch and a spade in the car;
  • Take care around gritters and vehicles that clear snow. Only overtake them if you can do so safely and without going on to uncleared snow;
  • It can take ten times longer to stop when it is icy, so allow more room to slow down and stop;
  • To avoid losing control of your car because of wheel spin, use the highest gear that you can. Avoid sudden braking, acceleration and sharp turns.
The Highways Agency is advising drivers to check for up-to-date information on weather and road conditions before they set off, and during their journey.

Information about prevailing road conditions on the motorways and trunk roads in England is available from the Highways Agency: Information Line 08457 504030 or at www.highways.gov.uk

Information on weather conditions throughout the UK is available from the Met Office website at www.metoffice.gov.uk and by listening to radio broadcasts.

(SP)

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