09:25AM, Sunday 18 November 2012
Drivers are being warned to prepare themselves and their cars for severe weather this winter.
Research by the Highways Agency, conducted as part of its 'Make Time for Winter' campaign, found that 49 per cent of drivers ignore severe weather warnings, while 29 per cent do not prepare their vehicle for winter.
Roads minister Stephen Hammond MP said: "Vehicles are much more prone to break down as temperatures plummet and a routine incident or breakdown can become much more serious in severe weather.
"Any broken down vehicles can have a big impact on our motorways and trunk roads, making it harder for road salting vehicles and snow ploughs to operate. As well as putting the driver and passengers at risk, it takes longer to clear the roads and causes delays for everyone else."
He added: "It's important drivers take a few minutes to check their vehicles, plan their journeys, check the weather forecast and carry an emergency kit. In the most severe weather, they should even consider whether their journey is really necessary before they set out."
The Highways Agency, which operates and maintains motorways and strategic roads in England, has more than 500 winter vehicles on standby at more than 100 depots. These include salt spreaders, ploughs and snow blowers.
Roads can be treated before temperatures fall below freezing using data from the Met Office and on-road weather stations, and more than a quarter of a million tonnes of salt are in stock.
The Agency is encouraging drivers to take the following steps:
1. Check your vehicle – fuel and fluid levels, electrics and tyres – before setting out.
2. Be prepared with an emergency kit in your vehicle, including warm clothes, food, water, boots, a torch, a spade, and any regular medication.
3. Listen to travel bulletins on the radio.
4. If the weather is severe, consider whether your journey is essential or travel at a different time. In winter, the weather can change quickly so always be prepared for bad weather.
5. Remember that even when roads have been treated with salt, the local road layout or landscape can mean a greater risk of ice forming, such as on bends or under overhanging trees.
Visit www.highways.gov.uk/winter for more advice.
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