When the weather isn't great, travelling can take a little more time. By spending some of that time preparing for the snow and ice, we can all help keep the country on the move.
The Highways Agency has a network of weather stations, road surface temperature monitors and other technology – and works closely with colleagues at the Met Office – but the weather can still spring surprises. Even if the time and location of snowfall is perfectly forecast, work to clear the snow can’t start until after it has fallen and it will take time to treat the road with salt to reduce the risk of ice.
Snowploughs can't get through if the road or motorway is full of stationary traffic!
The Agency has updated its fleet in recent years and now has:
- Almost 500 winter service vehicles (snow blowers, and salt spreaders with snowplough attachments) at more than 100 depots across its network
- Salt barns with a joint capacity of more than a quarter of a million tonnes of salt
How you can help
Drive carefully and adjust your driving to the conditions.
In severe weather problems on the roads can easily multiply. If you get stuck going up a hill, then others can become stuck behind you, and then rescue services and winter clearance teams will find it harder to get through. Try to keep moving steadily in as high a gear as possible.
In severe weather you will need to allow more time for your journey. When it is forecast are you able to change your travel plans - can you work at home for example?
If, when it snows heavily, everyone rushes onto the roads to make their journey it could mean struggling through difficult conditions, and the extra traffic will make access more complicated for the Highways Agency’s winter service teams. It may sound obvious, but the snow ploughs and salt spreaders need to be ahead of you, not behind you in the queue! By delaying your journey it could help to give the winter service teams the time and space to do their job.
Even better, check the weather forecast and try to get home ahead of the snowfall for example.
For further information, please visit www.highways.gov.uk/winter