Highways Agency (National)
With temperatures continuing to fall during the week, the Highways Agency is reminding people of the need to be prepared when they set out on a journey.
Even if it’s not snowing, cold weather can create dangers that are less obvious – such as an increased risk of ice. This means you need to take care says the Agency, which looks after England’s motorways and major A roads.
“Although the forecast suggests you are unlikely to need a snow shovel this week, you should make sure you have plenty of warm clothing for you and your passengers. If you break down on the motorway it’s dangerous to stay in your vehicle,” says Jason Glasson of the Highways Agency’s winter team.
A Met Office cold weather alert has been issued for the entire country. They are predicting temperatures of minus three in London and Birmingham on Friday morning. Everywhere is expected to be sub zero and the temperature will ‘feel like’ minus six or lower in places.
The Highways Agency’s 500-strong gritting fleet is expecting this to be one of its busiest weeks of the winter.
Even though it has been relatively mild so far compared to last year, the fleet has already spread more than 60,000 tonnes of salt since the start of winter and is expecting to clock up a million miles by the weekend.
Met Office forecasters based at the Highways Agency’s national traffic operations centre say there will be little rain or snow before the weekend, but road conditions can still be challenging when it is so cold.
“It’s particularly important you give yourself extra time to prepare for your journey on a cold morning and don’t drive off until you and your car are ready,” adds Jason Glasson.
Even if it hasn’t rained overnight, a heavy frost can still make roads slippy.
Watch out for icy conditions under bridges, overhanging trees and exposed roads.
Allow extra time in the morning to de-ice your car windows – and then clean all of them so you have a good view.
On a cold, clear morning there is a greater risk of being dazzled by low sun through a frosty windscreen. Include sunglasses in your winter driving kit.
Information about a winter driving kit and other advice to help motorists be prepared for winter is on the Highways Agency website at www.highways.gov.uk/winter