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HIGHWAYS AGENCY READY FOR COLD WEATHER

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Drivers are being reminded to prepare for the wintry weather ...
Drivers are being reminded to prepare for the wintry weather

conditions that are predicted for this week, and to check weather

forecasts and road conditions before they travel.

The Highways Agency will have its gritting fleet out on the England's

motorways and other strategic roads in preparation for the cold snap.

The agency receives regular weather forecasts and mobilises its

gritting operation whenever ice or snow is predicted.

The Highways Agency's national traffic director, David York, said:

'The Highways Agency has 700 gritters and snowploughs ready for use

on 24-hour standby, and an enormous reserve of salt at its 150 depots

around the strategic road network. Our contractors are receiving up

to the minute weather information from the Met Office.

'Since the start of this winter and we have dealt with some serious

weather conditions on the roads. All motorways and trunk roads will

be pre-salted and we will do our best to ensure all motorways and

trunk roads in England remain open during the bad conditions.'

Drivers are reminded to check weather forecasts and road conditions

before and during their journey.

If the weather becomes severe, the message is don't drive unless your

journey is really necessary.

If you must drive in severe winter weather, slow down and drive

according to the conditions. It can take ten times longer to stop in

icy conditions, so allow extra room to slow down and stop.

For advice on weather conditions:

* The Met Office website - www.metoffice.com

* Local radio broadcasts

For advice on road conditions:

* HA website - www.highways.gov.uk

* Highways Agency Information Line 0845 7504030

In the event of severe weather the agency will be working with police

forces and local authorities to ensure the impact is minimised.

The Highways Agency and the Department for Transport's Think road

safety campaign are advising drivers to follow six k ey messages about

driving safely in wintry weather. These are:

* The British winter is changeable. If you must drive during severe

weather, make sure you are prepared for the conditions.

* Check local and national weather forecasts. Listen to travel

information on radio.

* Take care around gritters and snowploughs. Don't be tempted to

overtake snowploughs by squeezing into partially cleared lanes.

* It can take ten times longer to stop in icy conditions. Allow extra

room to slow down and stop.

* Use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin. Manoeuvre gently

and avoid harsh braking and acceleration. If you start to skid,

gently ease off the accelerator and try to avoid braking. If braking

becomes necessary, brake very gently.

* When driving in snow, make sure you're equipped with warm clothes,

food, water, boots, a torch and spade.

Note

1. The Highways Agency is an Executive Agency of the Department for

Transport, which manages, maintains and improves the network of trunk

roads and motorways in England on behalf of the Secretary of State.

It works closely with other transport operators and with local

authorities to integrate the trunk road network with the rest of

England's roads and other forms of transport.

2. Information about roadworks and road conditions on the motorways

and trunk roads in England is available by phone from the Highways

Agency Information Line on 08457 504030, and from the Highways Agency

website: www.highways.gsi.gov.uk.

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