Winter weather checklist: Things to consider before travelling

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Published on 2 December 2015 by Gill

Motorcyclists and drivers of all vehicles should be prepared for the hazards the winter travel brings with it.

Further to the vehicle checks outlined in part one of our winter weather checklist, Highways England has emphasised a number of points for road users to consider before setting off.

Have you planned your journey?

In severe and wintry weather it's even more important to plan your journey. Highways England provides up to the minute traffic reports for its network of 4,300 miles of motorways and major A roads across England.

Just a few minutes checking information services before you set off can make all the difference to your journey.

Before you set off

The Highways England website includes the latest traffic reports, maps showing how the traffic is flowing on England's motorways and major A roads, a motorway flow diagram, views from CCTV cameras, average speeds and the displays on motorway message signs.

Road and weather conditions may change, drive with care

When you're on the road, pay attention to the changing road, traffic and weather conditions. Be ready to slow down and take more care if you need to, particularly on bends and exposed roads. Don't be lulled into a false sense of security - even if you drive every day on the same stretch of road.

Additional information and advice on driving in adverse weather conditions is available in the Highway Code or by visiting the Highways England winter web pages.

Updates on the move

If you are away from your computer or have already set out on your journey, there are still lots of ways to get Highways England live traffic information.

On overhead message signs – motorway control centres will flash up important travel messages, including warning you of delays and advising of alternative routes.  There are also automatic signs telling you how long it will take traffic to reach certain destinations at that time.

When you take a break

On long journeys, consider taking a break at regular intervals - and that's an ideal time to check the traffic conditions on the road ahead.

While you are safely parked, check the latest information via your mobile phone, iPhone or laptop. Never stop on the hard shoulder to do thisand never use your mobile phone while driving.

Are you safe to drive?

Use this following handy reminder for pre-journey safety checks. 

  • PETROL (or diesel). Have you got enough? Do you know where to fill up?
  • OIL - check levels once a month
  • WATER - check radiator and screenwash once a month
  • DAMAGE - check wipers, lights etc for signs of wear and tear or damage
  • ELECTRICS - check lights, indicators and controls are working properly
  • RUBBER - are your tyres well inflated, legal, with good tread and free from damage?
  • YOURSELF - are you fit to drive? Have you slept well? Are you taking any medication(s) that could make it unsafe for you to drive? 

Check back for part three which will offer tips for driving in severe weather conditions. 

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