The following winter driving tips will help you prepare for and drive to the conditions when driving on icy, wet or snowbounds roads.
If you need an updated road report or additional information, call 0800 44 44 49 or go to the traffic and travel section of our website for real-time updates and webcams.
If travel can’t be put off, allow extra time for your journey. Plan to drive in the middle of the day or in daylight hours, when visibility is better and ice and snow are less likely to be on the road. Avoid driving at night, when hazards rapidly multiply.
If travelling long distances, make sure you are well rested and plan where to have a break. Share the driving if possible or allow for stops every two hours.
Dress for the conditions, carry warm clothes and keep a survival kit in your vehicle in case you get stuck. Ensure your car is roadworthy and keep at least half a tank of petrol in your vehicle in case you get diverted onto another route.
Be prepared for snow and carry tyre chains that you know how to use and fit.
Some people believe they are safer in a 4WD. However, these vehicles are no better in winter conditions than any others. You still need to drive to the conditions.
There could be winter maintenance vehicles on the highway helping to keep the road open. If you come across any of these vehicles, stay a safe distance behind them and do not pass unless you’re instructed to.
The winter maintenance crews constantly update highway conditions as closures occur and conditions change. They have the most up-to-date information and experienced knowledge of their region, so please follow their instructions and advice at all times.
Electronic message signs are available at roadsides across the country, providing up-to-date warnings to drivers on current conditions.
These may warn of road closures, ice, snow or other related information. The messages on these signs are changed remotely and will be blank when there are no restrictions.
Many radio broadcasts will also provide road condition bulletins, so listen to your local station for updates.
Grit and an anti-icing agent called CMA is spread or sprayed on some roads to help travel in icy conditions. This isn’t a guarantee you can drive at normal speeds so keep your speed down.
If we have spread grit, drive on it where possible and not in a wheel track to maximise its effect.
Grit and CMA, which are sometimes used at the same time, lessen the severity of winter road conditions but do not completely stop ice and snow from affecting journeys, so remember to drive to the conditions. However, the speed at which ice and snow can occur means that there will be times when grit and CMA have not yet been spread.