Drivers in South West England and the East and West Midlands are being advised to check the weather forecast and road conditions before they travel on Thursday 18 February, as rain moving across those regions from early tomorrow is expected to turn into heavy snow showers.
The Highways Agency, which operates and maintains motorways and major A roads in England, is working closely with the Met Office to monitor weather conditions and maintain safe roads and reliable journeys.
The Met Office today issued a severe weather warning that rain will turn increasingly to snow as it moves north-eastwards during Thursday. Snow accumulations of 5 to 10cm are expected to develop quite widely, but especially over hills.
Drivers are advised to plan their journeys before they set out, checking the forecast and road conditions, to leave extra time for their journeys if travel conditions are poor, and to delay their journey if the weather becomes severe.
Road users should 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.
It can take ten times longer to stop when it is icy, so the advice is to allow more room to slow down and stop; avoid losing control of your vehicle because of wheel spin, by using the highest gear possible; and avoid sudden braking, acceleration and sharp turns.
Road users are advised to listen to local radio travel news or tune into the Highways Agency's Traffic Radio, which is available on DAB Digital Radio or online at www.trafficradio.org.uk.
Up-to-date information on road conditions on England's motorways and trunk roads is available on the Agency website at www.highways.gov.uk/traffic or by calling 08457 504030. For information on weather conditions, visit the Met Office website www.metoffice.gov.uk or listen to local radio.
The Highways Agency's winter fleet will be out treating motorways and major 'A' roads across the affected regions. Drivers should take care around spreading vehicles and vehicles clearing snow and only overtake if they can do so safely, without driving on any un-cleared snow. These vehicles are performing essential work to help keep roads open and may be traveling at low speed.
Notes to editors
1. The Highways Agency is an executive agency of the Department for Transport. We manage, maintain and improve 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 available:
- From our Traffic Radio service, available on DAB digital radio and the Internet at 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".
- Online at www.highways.gov.uk/traffic or www.highways.gov.uk/mobile if using a phone or mobile device.
Before using any 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.
- By phone from the Highways Agency 24-hour voice-activated phone service on 0870 660 115. (Calls from BT residential landlines to 0870 numbers will cost no more than 8p per minute; call charges from other landlines and mobile networks may vary).
3. For more general information about the Highways Agency and its work, visit the Highways Agency website www.highways.gov.uk, or telephone the Highways Agency Information Line on 08457 50 40 30 at any time (Calls to 0845 numbers will cost no more than 4p per minute from BT residential landlines. Call charges from other landlines and mobile networks may vary).
Issued by the Highways Agency. For more information contact Mark Powell on 0121 687 4078.
Phone: For enquiries please contact the above department