UK Government

Highways Agency (London): Highways Agency urges drivers to ‘Be Prepared For Winter’

Press Release   •   Nov 15, 2010 11:45 GMT

As we head into the winter season the Highways Agency, which manages and maintains England’s motorways and major A roads, is urging road users to make sure that they are prepared to face severe weather.

Roads Minister Mike Penning said:

“The Highways Agency is prepared for winter, but road users must also play their part. Not all journeys are essential in severe weather, but if people feel that they must travel during severe conditions there are some simple steps that can reduce the risk of being caught out by the weather.

That’s why I am urging all drivers to carry out simple vehicle checks before they set out; to carry a severe weather emergency kit in their vehicles; to monitor the traffic and weather conditions and plan their journeys.”

The Highways Agency has learned from the severe weather of the last two winters, and strengthened its capability to face extended spells of severe weather. State-of-the-art winter vehicles are being used in more parts of the country, and the Agency has reviewed salt stock levels and established a strategic salt stock to help ensure that there is enough salt to deal with severe winter conditions.

As well as snow and ice, strong winds, heavy rain and thick fog can affect journeys in the winter season. Met Office weather forecasters based at the Highways Agency’s National Traffic Control Centre will provide information on weather conditions across the motorway and trunk road network. Drivers can obtain up to the minute information on winter traffic conditions from:

* the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000
* the Highways Agency’s ‘Traffic Radio’, broadcast on DAB digital
* the Agency’s website at
* the Agency’s iPhone app and mobile website

For detailed information on local and national weather conditions, visit the Met Office website or listen to local radio broadcasts.

Notes to editors

To arrange an interview with a Highways Agency spokesperson, or for pictures of the Highways Agency’s salt stores or winter fleet, please call Mark Powell, Highways Agency Press Office, on 0121 687 4078 or email:

1. The Highways Agency is an executive agency of the Department for Transport. We manage, maintain and improve England’s motorways and major A roads on behalf of the Secretary of State. 

2. A severe weather emergency kit should include the following items – an ice scraper and de-icer, a torch, warm clothes and a blanket, a pair of boots, a first-aid kit, battery jump leads, a spade if it’s likely to snow, food and drink.

3. Drivers of high-sided vehicles will be kept informed of strong winds via the Highways Agency’s weather alert system. The system was developed in partnership with Freight Transport Association (FTA) and Road Haulage Association (RHA). Amber and red alerts will be communicated through radio bulletins, the Highways Agency “Traffic Radio” service and through the FTA and RHA membership network.

4. Real-time traffic information for England’s motorways and major A roads is now available:

* On the internet at
* 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). 
* From our Traffic Radio service, available on DAB digital radio and the internet 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".

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.

5. For more general information about the Highways Agency and its work, visit the Highways Agency website, or telephone the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000 at any time. (Calls to 0300 numbers cost no more than 5p/min from BT residential landlines. Call charges from other landlines and mobile networks may vary).

Receive our national and regional press releases by RSS and get the latest headlines straight to your desktop the moment we publish them to our website. Choose to receive a national press feed or one of our regionalised feeds - go to for more information.

Issued by the Highways Agency Press Office. To request an interview or for further information please contact 0207 081 7443 (24-hour number).


NDS Enquiries 
Phone: For enquiries please contact the issuing dept