Health & Safety

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Winter Driving Information

8 January 2010

The Highways Agency says it is ready to face severe weather as the winter months begin, but has asked road users to also play their part in keeping traffic moving.

busy road in winter

A survey of road users carried out by the Highways Agency found that almost half (48%) admitted that they would not carry out any vehicle checks even after hearing a severe weather warning, and just under a quarter (24%) would not change their journey plans.

More reassuringly, 4 out of 10 (43%) drivers said that although they would continue their journey as planned, they would monitor conditions or take extra precautions.

The Agency is keen to raise awareness that it is not just snow and ice, but also strong winds, heavy rain and thick fog that can affect journeys on the roads.

Although the Highways Agency is well prepared for winter, they are asking road users to play their part too. Not every journey is essential in severe weather, and the survey shows that sometimes people head out anyway without taking steps to avoid being caught out.

Posted speed limits are for ideal travel conditions. Driving at reduced speeds, in a lower gear and at a safe distance from the vehicle in front are the best precautionary measures against any misfortune while driving on slippery roads. Lengthen your following distance behind the vehicle ahead of you - stopping distances double on slippery roads.


  • Carry out vehicle checks before you set out,
  • Carry a severe weather emergency kit in your vehicle. Include items like warm clothing, boots, gloves or mittens, torch with fresh batteries, blankets, and first-aid supplies.
  • Monitor the traffic and weather conditions,
  • Plan your journey using the Highways Agency website, listening to the radio or calling the Highways Agency information line.