Motorway snow
Highways England says it is continuing to grit roads and keep motorways clear
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HIGHWAYS England says it is working around the clock to keep motorways and major A-roads free from snow and ice for company car and business drivers facing work in their cars tomorrow.

However, freezing conditions continue to grip the country and there’s the prospect of further snowfall along with overnight plummeting temperatures. Highways England said gritting teams would continue working to keep routes clear.

In the West Midlands, which has experienced some of the heaviest snowfall, Highways England reported that 36 gritter crews had been out on the road network since Thursday morning with a further 20 joining the network since 10pm last night (Saturday).

The major motorways and A routes that have been salted include:

  • M5,
  • M6,
  • M40,
  • M42 and M69
  • as well as the A5 and A49.

Over in the East Midlands, some 47 gritting crews have been on patrol over the past 24 hours on roads including the M1, with parts of Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire waking up to around 10 to 15cm of snow.

Elsewhere, teams have been on patrol on roads across the north of England, as well as in the South East, including around the M25, the East and across the South West.

Highways England’s Head of Road Safety, Richard Leonard, said:

“We are encouraging road users, particularly in the north of England and Midlands, to drive only if it’s necessary – your safety is our top priority and our advice is to work at home, travel by public transport or to wait until the weather and road conditions have improved.

“If this is not possible then plan your journey carefully, monitor weather reports and pack a snow kit of blankets, food, water and a shovel and before you set off, make sure vehicle is ready for your journey and is clear of snow.

“Anyone thinking of using the roads should be advised to keep their distance and reduce speed, because even in conditions that seem normal, and the snow is not settling, it can be slippery if ice patches have formed, or where fresh grit has not been worked into the carriageway.”

snowy roads
Driving in winter conditions can be hazardous: follow IAM RoadSmart’s advice

Advice for driving in snow and wintry conditions

Safety experts IAM RoadSmart had this advice for company car drivers and business car drivers for tackling wintry conditions:

  • Avoid travelling if you can in extreme weather
  • If you do have to travel in bad weather, plan your journey thoroughly. Think about where you are going and what it will be like all the way along the journey. If you can, avoid travelling on less-used roads or country lanes as these are less likely to be gritted.
  • Before setting off, clear all your windows and mirrors fully. Clear off snow piled on the roof of your car and the bonnet too.
  • Start your car gently from stationary and gentle acceleration – go easy on the revs. If road conditions are extremely icy and you drive a manual car, you should move off in a higher gear rather than first gear. You should stay in a higher gear to avoid wheel spin.
  • It’s important you get your speed right when travelling in snow. Never drive too fast that you risk losing control, and don’t drive so slowly that you risk losing momentum for getting up a slope.
  • Increase your following distance from the vehicle in front of you. It may take up to 10 times longer to stop on snow or ice  – don’t forget to use engine braking; this is less likely to induce skidding.
  • Slow down sufficiently before reaching a bend so you have enough time to react to any hazards that appear as you go round it – and so you do not skid as well. You should have finished slowing down before you start to turn the steering wheel.
  • If you break down or have to pull over on a motorway or dual carriageway, you should leave your vehicle and stand to the safe side of it – ideally well over the safety barrier to the nearside of the road, but not in front of it, when waiting for help.
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