Winter driving

We carry out road salting (gritting) to keep road users safe in conditions of snow, ice and frost. There are also a number of things you can do to drive more safely during winter.

Safer winter driving tips

Drive carefully - you are responsible for your own safety, your passengers' safety, your vehicle and other road users. Use these tips to help you plan ahead:

  • prepare your vehicle for winter and regularly check your tyre treads throughout the season
  • before travelling check the TV, radio and newspapers for the latest information and early warnings
  • carry a shovel and blanket in the boot of your car
  • let someone know your destination and estimated arrival time
  • if you have a mobile phone, take it with you, but do not use it whilst driving
  • allow extra time for your journey
  • reduce your speed and allow more time to stop or to react safely to icy roads
  • don't brake suddenly, drop down a gear to let your engine help with the braking
  • anticipate possible problems ahead, in icy conditions braking distances can increase tenfold
  • make sure you can see clearly and that your vehicle can be seen, put your lights on
  • wherever possible, use main routes that are more likely to have been treated
  • in particularly severe weather consider if your journey is necessary or could be rearranged
  • if you have to go out, dress warmly and be prepared in case you get stuck or delayed
  • be patient with cautious motorists
  • follow the Highway Code for driving in adverse weather conditions

Remember gritting helps to prevent ice forming and to melt any ice or snow which is already there. Gritting does not automatically make roads ice-free. You should also consider that:

  • only the busiest roads are salted, most are not - drive carefully
  • it takes time for salt to become effective
  • rain can wash salt off roads
  • in very low temperatures even salting does not prevent ice

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