conditions that are predicted for this week, and to check weather
forecasts and road conditions before they travel.
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.
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