UK Government

Highways Agency: Highways Agency advice to drivers as further snowfalls and freezing temperatures are forecast

Press Release   •   Jan 05, 2010 11:22 GMT

Drivers are being advised to consider whether their journeys are essential before travelling for the rest of today (Tuesday) and overnight into Wednesday as continuing snow and freezing temperatures are forecast for many parts of the country.

During this morning snow is forecast to extend from the north into the Midlands and parts of the southwest. This evening snow will be most likely across the Midlands and parts of the south an south east, with central and southern counties at greatest risk of heavy, disruptive, snowfalls. Snow elsewhere will be more scattered but also locally heavy in some areas.

The Highways Agency, which is responsible for England's motorways and major A roads, has been and will continue to treat the roads where freezing temperatures and snow are forecast. All roads on the strategic road network are open.

Our winter fleet of around 500 salt-spreaders and snowploughs has been working flat out treating motorways and major 'A' roads extensively yesterday, overnight and this morning. Drivers are advised to take care around spreading vehicles and vehicles clearing snow and only to overtake if they can do so safely, without driving on uncleared snow.  These vehicles are performing essential work to help keep roads open and may be travelling at low speed. However, even when roads have been treated, drivers should still take care, especially on stretches where the local road layout or landscape means there could be a greater risk of ice forming.

With temperatures falling to below freezing across many parts of the country overnight tonight and into Wednesday morning, drivers are advised to check the forecast and road conditions, leave extra time for their journeys, and to delay their journey if the weather becomes severe. Drivers who are unused to driving in such conditions are reminded that it can take up to ten times longer to stop when it is icy, so allow more room to slow down and stop. Avoid losing control of your vehicle because of wheel spin by using the highest gear possible. Avoid sudden braking, acceleration and sharp turns.

Road users are also advised to be prepared with warm clothing and an emergency pack, which includes food and water, boots, de-icer, a torch, and a shovel in case of snow. Plan your journey before leaving home. Check your route for delays, and the weather forecast. Listen to travel news on your car radio or tune into the Highways Agency's Traffic Radio, which is available on DAB Digital Radio or online at http://www.trafficradio.org.uk.

Information about current road conditions is on the Highways Agency's website http://www.highways.gov.uk/trafficinfo/

For up-to-date information on road conditions on England's motorways and trunk roads, drivers should check the Agency website at http://www.highways.gov.uk or call 08457 504030. For information on weather conditions, visit the Met Office website http://www.metoffice.gov.uk or listen to local radio.

Notes to editors

1. The Highways Agency is an executive agency of the Department for Transport. It manages, maintains and improves England's motorways and trunk roads on behalf of the Secretary of State.

2. Real -time traffic information for England's motorways and major A roads is now available:
* From our new Traffic Radio service, available on DAB digital radio and the internet at http://www.trafficradio.org.uk To tune into the DAB service, simply press the "scan" button on your radio. The radio will tune into all available channels and you can select the new service by scrolling through the channels until you reach "Traffic Radio".
* On the internet at http://www.highways.gov.uk/trafficinfo
* By phone from the Highways Agency 24-hour voice activated phone service on 08700 660 115. (Calls from BT landlines to 0870 numbers will cost no more than 8p per minute; mobile calls usually cost more).
3. Before using a mobile, find a safe place to park. Never stop on the hard shoulder of a motorway except in an emergency. Make sure it's safe and legal before you call.
4. For more general information about the Highways Agency and its work, visit the Highways Agency website http://www.highways.gov.uk, or telephone the Highways Agency Information Line on 08457 50 40 30 at any time. (Calls to 0845 numbers cost no more than 3p/min from BT residential landlines. Call charges from other landlines and mobile networks may vary)

Contacts

NDS Enquiries
Phone: For enquiries please contact the above department
ndsenquiries@coi.gsi.gov.uk