Highways Agency
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Hidden danger warning as temperatures fall

Hidden danger warning as temperatures fall

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 02 February 2012

With temperatures continuing to fall during the week, the Highways Agency is reminding people of the need to be prepared when they set out on a journey.

Even if it’s not snowing, cold weather can create dangers that are less obvious – such as an increased risk of ice. This means you need to take care says the Agency, which looks after England’s motorways and major A roads.

“Although the forecast suggests you are unlikely to need a snow shovel this week, you should make sure you have plenty of warm clothing for you and your passengers. If you break down on the motorway it’s dangerous to stay in your vehicle,” says Jason Glasson of the Highways Agency’s winter team.

A Met Office cold weather alert has been issued for the entire country. They are predicting temperatures of minus three in London and Birmingham on Friday morning. Everywhere is expected to be sub zero and the temperature will ‘feel like’ minus six or lower in places.

The Highways Agency’s 500-strong gritting fleet is expecting this to be one of its busiest weeks of the winter.

Even though it has been relatively mild so far compared to last year, the fleet has already spread more than 60,000 tonnes of salt since the start of winter and is expecting to clock up a million miles by the weekend.

Met Office forecasters based at the Highways Agency’s national traffic operations centre say there will be little rain or snow before the weekend, but road conditions can still be challenging when it is so cold.

“It’s particularly important you give yourself extra time to prepare for your journey on a cold morning and don’t drive off until you and your car are ready,” adds Jason Glasson.

Advice includes:

• Even if it hasn’t rained overnight, a heavy frost can still make roads slippy.

• Watch out for icy conditions under bridges, overhanging trees and exposed roads.

• Allow extra time in the morning to de-ice your car windows – and then clean all of them so you have a good view.

• On a cold, clear morning there is a greater risk of being dazzled by low sun through a frosty windscreen. Include sunglasses in your winter driving kit.

Information about a winter driving kit and other advice to help motorists be prepared for winter is on the Highways Agency website at www.highways.gov.uk/winter

Notes to Editors

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. To keep up to date with the activities of the Highways Agency's winter team, traffic reports, advice and weather reports follow us on Twitter @winterhighways.

3. Gritters don't actually spread grit, they spread salt. To be effective this then needs to be crushed by traffic and moisture on the road for it to form a salty solution.

4. 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 regional feeds with live traffic information. For the full index visit www.highways.gov.uk/twitter.

5. 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.


Contacts:

Mik Barton.
Phone: 075 5445 8909
mik.barton@highways.gsi.gov.uk

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