Cold weather warning for motorists

The Safer Roads Partnership in Warwickshire and West Mercia is warning motorists in the region to take extra care on the roads over the weekend as temperatures are set to plummet. The Met Office has forecast outbreaks of rain, sleet and snow across the West Midlands on Saturday followed by a rapid drop in temperature which will lead to a risk of icy and slippery roads.

Driving in wet and icy conditions can be challenging for drivers as vehicle handling changes and stopping times and distances increase. It is important to drive smoothly and avoid braking sharply and accelerating quickly, as this could lead to wheels locking or spinning.

Anna Higgins, Communications Manager at the Safer Roads Partnership said “With sleet, snow and low temperatures forecast over the next few days, roads could get very slippery and motorists will need to exercise caution. It takes much longer for vehicles to slow down on wet, icy or snowy roads. Keep well back from the vehicle in front and allow plenty of time to slow down.

“Drivers are advised to look as far ahead as possible to anticipate what other road users might be planning to do, especially at junctions and roundabouts. Braking sharply on a slippery road will only make the situation worse and could cause the brakes to lock and the car to skid.”

The partnership is also reminding drivers about the importance of carrying an emergency kit in their cars during the winter months in case of a breakdown or delay. This should include items such as an ice-scraper, torch, warm clothes and a blanket, a pair of boots, a first aid kit, battery jump leads, a shovel for snow, food and drink and sunglasses to help see in low winter sun. Motorists are also advised to make sure their mobile phone is fully charged before heading off on a long journey.

Anna Higgins added: “It really is worth spending a couple of minutes to put a few extra items in the boot of your car that could be essential if you breakdown or experience a delay due to bad weather. You may not need to use them but you’ll be glad you packed them if you do.”

11th January, 2013