Driving in Winter
Road Safety - Driving in Winter - Advice issued by the Highways Agency
Have you planned your journey?
In severe and wintry weather it's even more
important to plan your journey. The Highways Agency provides
up to the minute traffic reports for its network of 4,300
miles of motorways and major A roads across England.
Before you set off
Visit www.highways.gov.uk/winter to
see the latest traffic reports, maps showing how the
traffic is flowing on England's motorways and major A roads, a
flow diagram, views from CCTV cameras, average speeds and the
displays on motorway message signs.
If you are away from your computer or have already set out on
your journey, there are still lots of ways to get Highways Agency
live traffic information.
on the move
On overhead message signs - HA control centres will flash
up important travel messages, including warning you of delays and
advising of alternative routes. Automatic signs will tell you
how long it will take traffic to reach certain destinations at that
There is a free app for your iPhone or you can visit www.highways.gov.uk/winter
to access a mobile friendly version. This will allow you to select
live updates by road, region or motorway. Remember: Never
stop on the hard shoulder to do this and never use your mobile
phone while driving.
Follow the Highways Agency Twitter
channels @winterhighways (and @HA_Christmas over the
festive period) will help you prepare for your winter journey with
timely reminders and traffic updates.
Check weather updates
Take weather conditions into account when planning your route by
visiting The Met Office
website or listening to local radio broadcasts.
Always allow extra time in severe weather. Listen to warnings or
advice and consider whether or not your journey is essential.
Check your planned route at http://www.highways.gov.uk/traffic/traffic.aspx
where you can find up-to-date traffic information.
Is your vehicle ready for
What can you do to reduce the chances of
Check your vehicle is in good running order
before you set out and consider regular servicing to help minimise
Use this POWDERY checklist as a good
- PETROL (or diesel). Have you got enough? Do
you know where to fill up?
- OIL - check levels once a month
- WATER - check radiator and screenwash
once a month
- DAMAGE - check wipers, lights etc for
signs of wear and tear or damage
- ELECTRICS - check lights, indicators and
controls are working properly
- RUBBER TYRES - are they well
inflated, legal, with good tread and free from damage?
- YOURSELF - are you fit to drive? Have you
slept well? Are you taking any medication(s) that could make it
unsafe for you to drive?
If you are planning to travel with pets, ensure that animals are
safe and secure, and will not be a distraction to people travelling
in your vehicle - seek appropriate advice before you travel.
For more information visit
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
- 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 glare off snow can be dazzling)
For more information visit
Make Time for Tyre Safety in Winter
Some handy advice from Tyresafe, the tyre safety
In the winter months it is essential that your tyres are well
maintained. Cold temperatures, damp roads, snow and ice all reduce
a tyre's ability to grip the road properly, leading to longer
stopping distances and a higher risk of an accident.
The safest option in these conditions is to fit winter weather
tyres which are specifically designed to provide extra grip and
improved levels of safety at temperatures lower then 7°C. Even if
you don't switch to winter weather tyres, you can still carry out a
number of checks for maximum safety.
In winter, tread depth should be checked to ensure it is well
above the legal minimum of 1.6mm across the central ¾ of the tyre,
around its entire circumference. TyreSafe has developed the 20p
test for a simple and quick way to test your tyres'
Tyre pressures should be checked every two weeks and before a
long journey. Pressures should be checked when the tyres are cold
(i.e. travelled less than 2 miles) against the vehicle
manufacturers recommended levels.
When checking tyre pressures give the rest of the tyre a
thorough visual inspection for any signs of damage. Look for any
cuts, cracks or bulges or embedded objects. If you are in any doubt
about the condition of your tyres, speak to a professional.
For more information about winter weather tyres or general tyre
safety visit: http://www.tyresafe.org/.