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Homepage > Roads and highways > Winter > Driving during winter

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Driving during winter

During periods of prolonged or forecasted winter hazards our operatives will be working around the clock to keep major transport routes clear, however, it is crucial that everyone takes extra care on the roads by driving appropriately for the conditions.

Driving in snow and ice

Driving in snow and ice is often dangerous. The precautionary salting we undertake is to prevent the formation of winter hazards, however, in serious/prolonged weather conditions consider how necessary your journey is.

If you do need to make a journey, the following guide may help you.

Be informed

Knowing the following information will help you on your journey:

  • Check which roads are on the gritting route map - 43% of the network is treated when conditions indicate this is necessary. Try and keep to treated routes wherever possible
  • Listen to local and national radio for travel and weather information
  • Take time to familiarise yourself again with the Highway Code for driving in adverse weather conditions

Drive carefully

Keep the following in mind on your journey:

  • Take extra care when driving during winter, and if conditions are bad, only travel if it is absolutely necessary
  • Keep your distance from other vehicles and be patient and allow for extra time on your journey
  • Even if the road is clear or looks treated please take extra care because salting does not guarantee the road is free from ice

Prepare properly

Before driving in your vehicle, check that:

  • Tyres are at the correct pressures and there is sufficient tread - a minimum of 4mm is recommended in snow conditions. You can even consider changing to winter tyres to improve your car’s performance even more.
  • Vehicle lights are clean and working
  • Battery is in good condition and fully charged
  • Wiper blades are effective, and washer reservoir is full
  • Anti-freeze is the right concentration (your garage can do this for you)
  • Windows and mirrors are clear of ice or condensation

Once your vehicle has been checked, prepare yourself by taking the following supplies:

  • Ice scraper
  • De-icer
  • Torch
  • Warm clothes
  • Blanket
  • Shovel
  • Food & drink
  • First aid kit

Getting stuck

If you run into difficulties, you should use the following guidance:

  • Stay in your vehicle and keep the engine running unless you are stuck in a snow drift when you should switch it off to prevent your vehicle filling with exhaust fumes
  • Make the vehicle/yourself as visible as possible to other road users/rescuers
  • Keep warm
  • If you use a mobile phone, give accurate details of your location.

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