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    HA urges “ill prepared” drivers to shape up for winter journeys

    The Highways Agency (HA) is urging drivers to ‘Make Time for Winter’ by preparing themselves and their vehicles to help keep the roads running smoothly.

    Roads Minister Robert Goodwill said:

    “The Highways Agency does all it can to keep the roads open during severe weather. But drivers need to play their part too by making simple vehicle checks, carrying a few important items and planning their journeys according to the weather.

    In very severe weather, drivers need to consider whether their journey is really necessary.”

    HA research shows that in the North West 72 per cent of drivers do not make any vehicle checks and almost half – 48 per cent – do not take any of the items in the suggested emergency kit such as de-icer or warm clothing.

    Avoid non-essential trips and plan for essential ones 

    HA advise that if weather is very severe consider if your journey is essential or travel at a different time. In winter, the weather can change quickly so always be prepared for bad weather.

    Highways Agency Traffic Management Director, Simon Sheldon-Wilson, says:

    “The Highways Agency is well-prepared for ice and snow. We have over 500 salt spreading vehicles, ploughs and snow blowers, and 270,000 tonnes of salt already in stock.

    Using detailed weather forecasts, we treat the road network before road temperatures fall below freezing – often at night in preparation for peak traffic periods.

    But that doesn’t mean people should drive as they normally would – they still need to take care, as they would during any kind of adverse weather, and plan ahead.”

    The Highways Agency provides real-time traffic information for the motorways and other strategic roads in England using a range of channels, including the web, social media and through national and local radio stations. 

    Drivers are encouraged to take some simple steps during winter. 

    • Check  your vehicle –  fuel and fluid levels, electrics and tyres before setting out;
    • Emergenc Kit – be prepared with an emergency kit in your vehicle, including ice-scraper, de-icer, warm clothes and blankets, torch, boots, first aid kit, jump leads, a spade, a road atlas and sunglasses (for the winter glare);
    • Plan your journeys – and check weather and travel conditions before and during your journey; and
    • Ice danger – remember that even when roads have been treated with salt, ice can still form, particularly on bends or under overhanging trees.
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