Driving in severe weather: be prepared and be aware
With the cold weather finally arriving and a yellow warning of snow in place for higher ground in the north of England, it seems timely to publish advice on staying safe on the roads this winter.
Carry an emergency kit
Gather together the following items and pack in your vehicle at the start of the winter season. You never know when you might need them!
- Ice scraper and de-icer
- Torch and spare batteries – or a wind-up torch
- Warm clothes and blankets – for you and all passengers
- First aid kit
- Jump leads
- A shovel
- Road atlas
- Sunglasses (the low winter sun and glare off snow can be dazzling)
Before you set off – check the latest traffic and weather
Have you planned your journey?
In severe and wintry weather it’s even more important to plan your journey. Highways England provides up to the minute traffic reports for its network of 4,300 miles of motorways and major A roads across England.
Just a few minutes checking information services before you set off can make all the difference to your journey.
Before you set off
The Highways England website includes the latest traffic reports, maps showing how the traffic is flowing on England’s motorways and major A roads, a motorway flow diagram, views from CCTV cameras, average speeds and the displays on motorway message signs.
Road and weather conditions may change, drive with care
When you’re on the road, pay attention to the changing road, traffic and weather conditions. Be ready to slow down and take more care if you need to, particularly on bends and exposed roads. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security – even if you drive every day on the same stretch of road.
More information and advice on driving in adverse weather conditions is available in the Highway Code or by visiting the Highways England winter web pages.
Updates on the move
If you are away from your computer or have already set out on your journey, there are still lots of ways to get Highways England live traffic information.
On overhead message signs – motorway control centres will flash up important travel messages, including warning you of delays and advising of alternative routes. There are also automatic signs telling you how long it will take traffic to reach certain destinations at that time.
When you take a break
On long journeys, consider taking a break at regular intervals – and that’s an ideal time to check the traffic conditions on the road ahead.
While you are safely parked, check the latest information via your mobile phone, iPhone or laptop. Never stop on the hard shoulder to do this and never use your mobile phone while driving.
For more information check the Highways England winter web pages.