Motorists warned to take care in snow

With heavy snow forecast over the West Midlands region on Friday, the Safer Roads Partnership in Warwickshire and West Mercia is reminding motorists to take extra care on the roads over the next few days. The Met Office has issued an amber warning of snow in the region between 3am and 9pm on Friday (18th January) and the potential for severe travel disruption.

Driving in icy and snowy conditions can be challenging for drivers as vehicle handling changes and stopping times and distances increase. When roads are slippery, it can take up to ten times longer for your vehicle to come to a stop.

Anna Higgins, Communications Manager for the Safer Roads Partnership said “In extreme weather conditions, such as thick snow, motorists should avoid any non-essential travel. If you do need to travel, take extra care on the roads and ensure your vehicle is in good running order before you leave. Vehicle handling can change considerably and it takes much longer to slow down on icy and slippery roads. Reduce your speed, keep well back from the vehicle in front and allow plenty of time to slow down. Steering may become unresponsive and if this happens, ease off the accelerator and slow down gradually. Braking sharply on an icy or wet road will only make the situation worse and could cause the brakes to lock and the car to skid.”

“With the current forecast, there is the potential for some severe travel disruption and the public are advised to watch or listen to local news for updates and be prepared to alter their travel plans.”

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.”

17th January, 2013