Highways Agency
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Highways Agency reminds drivers to 'Make Time for Winter'

Highways Agency reminds drivers to 'Make Time for Winter'

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 08 November 2011

As we head into the winter season the Highways Agency, which is responsible for England’s motorways and other strategic roads, is urging road users to make time for winter and ensure they are ready for severe weather.

Roads Minister Mike Penning said:

“The Highways Agency is ready for winter, but the experience of recent winters is that we must all play our part and be prepared. A few very simple steps taken now, such as putting together a severe weather emergency kit for your car, can reduce the risk of being caught out by the weather.

“Not every journey is essential in severe weather, but if you really must travel in the worst conditions, check your vehicle before you set out; take a severe weather emergency kit; check traffic and weather conditions and always plan your journey. For more information and advice I’d urge all drivers to make time for winter and visit the Highways Agency’s website, where there are lots of tips to help keep winter journeys safe and trouble free.”

The Highways Agency is well prepared for winter, with a fleet of 500 state of the art winter vehicles on stand-by, supported by tried and tested winter resilience plans. The Agency has reviewed salt stock levels, and started this winter period with stocks of more than a quarter of a million tonnes – 25% more than at the same time last year.

As well as snow and ice, strong winds, heavy rain and thick fog can affect journeys in the winter season. Met Office weather forecasters based at the Highways Agency’s National Traffic Operations Centre will provide information on weather conditions across the motorway and trunk road network.

Alyson Bedford, Head of Government Business at the Met Office, said:

“We work closely with Highways Agency throughout the year and during the winter period our forecasters work with Highways Agency staff to provide them with the very latest weather forecasts. When making any journey always make sure you check the weather forecast for the latest weather information.”

For detailed information on local and national weather conditions, visit the Met Office website or listen to local radio broadcasts.

Notes to Editors

Issued by the Highways Agency. For further information please contact Mark Powell on 0121 687 4078 / 07776 466896. Media enquiries out of hours should be made to the Highways Agency National Press Office (24hrs) on 020 7081 7443.

1. The Highways Agency is an executive agency of the Department for Transport. We manage, maintain and improve England’s motorways and other strategic roads on behalf of the Secretary of State.

2. For the Highways Agency’s advice to road users this winter, “Make time for winter”, please visit www.highways.gov.uk/winter

Media images to accompany this story are available on our Flickr channel: Be wise; Be informed; Be prepared; Be aware

3. A severe weather emergency kit should include the following items – an ice scraper and de-icer, a torch, warm clothes and a blanket, a pair of boots, a first-aid kit, battery jump leads, a spade if it’s likely to snow, food and drink.

4. Drivers of high-sided vehicles will be kept informed of strong winds or snowfall via the Highways Agency’s weather alert system. The system was developed in partnership with Freight Transport Association (FTA) and Road Haulage Association (RHA). Amber and red alerts will be communicated through radio bulletins and through the FTA and RHA membership network.

5. Real-time traffic information for England’s motorways and other strategic roads is available:

* From the web at www.highways.gov.uk/traffic or www.highways.gov.uk/mobile if using a phone or mobile device.
* By phone from the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000 at any time. (Calls to 0300 numbers will cost no more than 5p per minute from a standard BT residential landline. Call charges from other landlines and mobile networks may vary, but will be no more than a standard geographic call and will be included in all inclusive minutes and discount schemes). Make sure it’s safe and legal before you call. Before using any mobile, find a safe place to park. Never stop on the hard shoulder of a motorway except in an emergency.
* On an iPhone app which will automatically select the region you are in. Free to download from the iTunes store or search for Highways Agency on your device.
* From Twitter – there are eight feeds with live traffic information provided by region. For information on roads in your region follow us at @HAtraffic_seast @HAtraffic_swest @HAtraffic_east @HAtraffic_wmids @HAtraffic_emids @HAtraffic_nwest @HAtraffic_neast @HAtraffic_yorks or for the full index and map of areas covered, visit www.highways.gov.uk/twitter.

6. Receive our national and regional press releases by RSS and get the latest headlines straight to your desktop the moment we publish them to our website. Choose to receive a national press feed or one of our regionalised feeds - go to www.highways.gov.uk/rssnews for more information.

Issued by the Highways Agency. For further information please contact Mark Powell on 0121 687 4078 / 07776 466896. Media enquiries out of hours should be made to the Highways Agency National Press Office (24hrs) on 020 7081 7443.


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