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Safe travel

How you can help

Winter weather can make roads treacherous, even if they’ve been salted.

Stopping distances

Research suggests braking distances can be doubled in wet conditions and multiplied by 10 on snow or ice.


Many drivers underestimate the slipperiness of the road. In winter stopping distances become much longer (see above). Remember to slow down and leave more space between you and the vehicle in front. Consider taking a winter driving skid prevention and control course.

What else you can do to travel safely

Help reduce traffic, be Travelwise. If driving conditions are bad – do you really need to travel? Consider making your journey by rail or bus. You can obtain free timetables from Traveline 0871 200 2233.

If you do need to travel in your vehicle please remember that:

  • approximately 80% of roads are not routinely salted
  • it takes time for the salt to become effective, if snow has fallen it also needs traffic movement
  • showers or rain will wash salt off roads leaving them prone to icing
  • in very cold weather even salting will not stop ice from forming
  • forecasts are not always accurate and it takes over 3 hours to salt the network
  • when freezing or snow follows rain there may not be enough time to treat all the network before temperatures fall to zero
  • you should give snow ploughs and gritters plenty of room – be patient, don’t follow close behind
  • not to park where it may block a salting route

Other things that you can do to keep yourself and others safe on winter roads include:

  • allowing extra time for your journey and reduce your speed
  • using dipped headlights when visibility is poor due to rain, fog and snow – see and be seen
  • watching out for cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders – they can be difficult to see in bad conditions
  • trying your brakes after going through deep water, braking lightly will help to dry them out
  • watching out for sudden gusts and debris on the road when there is high wind
  • slowing down when driving in fog as you will think you are travelling slower than you really are – and don’t use tail lights of the vehicle in front as a guide