Please drive safely in wintery conditions

Fri 24 Jan, 2014

Issued in association with Transport for Buckinghamshire, Thames Valley Police and South Central Ambulance Service.

We're ready for winter - and here are some tips to help make sure you are too!

Transport for Buckinghamshire and the emergency services would like to remind motorists to drive with caution as road temperatures have dipped over recent days, causing some hazardous driving conditions.

Transport for Buckinghamshire has gritted its primary routes a total of 20 times over the winter season, but drivers are urged to take care as roads may still be slippery.

Drivers are being asked to consider the following:

  • Reduce your speed and allow extra braking distance.
  • Drive to the conditions of the road - local road conditions can vary significantly.
  • Take into account your surroundings - for example, visible frost, shaded roads, ground water near the road, surface water.
  • Stick to main roads - they are more likely to have been salted, and traffic makes the salt work more effectively, although it is no guarantee that there is no ice.
  • Although roads may have been gritted, never presume that any road is completely free from icy patches. With the recent wet weather, there is also the chance of black ice forming, which is difficult to see when driving.

Buckinghamshire County Council's Deputy Cabinet Member for Planning and Transportation, Ruth Vigor-Hedderly, said: “It doesn’t take a severe snowstorm to require more care and attention when driving. We need to all take note when the weather is colder and remember that even though roads may look fine, isolated spots and areas that don’t see the sun may still be slippery.”

Thames Valley Police and South Central Ambulance Service have seen a number of incidents on the roads recently. Inspector Colin Clark, from Thames Valley Police said: “Both services have attended numerous collisions, where drivers have not taken adequate care and consideration for driving in these conditions. More care is required driving in icy conditions, also ensuring that windscreens are fully defrosted before starting your journey.”

Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service is frequently called to collisions where people’s vehicles need to be cut open to release them. Road Safety Manager Keith Wheeler said: “Never rush, even if the road conditions mean your journey is taking longer than expected. It’s better to take your time and make sure you arrive safely.”

The organisations are advising drivers to check their vehicles are prepared to drive on winter roads. Tyre pressure and tread, windscreen wipers and washer fluid, anti-freeze and lights should all be checked to ensure they are as effective as possible.

Maps of gritting routes are available to view online, and Transport for Buckinghamshire reminds motorists that many minor roads will not be treated with salt. In severe cold weather, below minus 8 degrees C, even salt will not prevent ice from forming.