SERP offers winter road-safety advice

With the Christmas rush now in full swing and the weather likely to become colder over the Christmas period, SERP asks road-users to take extra care and to look out for each other.

Nicola Foster, Chairman of SERP, said: “If you’re considering driving in severe winter weather, please check the situation on the roads first via social media, (@essexhighways, @Essex_Travel, @essexpoliceUK and Met Office weather warnings) or local media, and only travel if you absolutely have to.

“If you do intend to drive, check your vehicle is prepared: antifreeze in your cooling water and screenwash, make sure you have plenty of fuel/electric charge for your journey, warm clothes, mobile phone charged, take a drink and some emergency food with you. Check your battery, get it topped up and replace it if any previous problems or over 5 years old. Make sure your tyres are at the right pressure with good tread to avoid undue risk of sliding on icy roads. Check lights are all working, including indicators. If you’re near needing a service, get it done before those winter trips. Have you got breakdown cover? If not recovery could be very expensive!

“When driving, slow down! Reduce speed to give you a better chance of reacting to any issues. Keep your distance, you may not be able to stop quickly on icy roads – remember, only main roads are gritted. In any tight situations where there may be ice on the road, go very slowly and in as high a gear as possible, avoid wheel spin. Full advice on most possible situations is available from, for example the RAC at

“Non-emergency roadworks will be suspended where possible over the holiday period to help keep traffic flowing smoothly.

“During these weeks we see more activity on our roads. There are more deliveries being made and so we ask everyone to look out for pedestrians who may be cold, wet or carrying heavy parcels. We all have a responsibility to look out for each other so please, let pedestrians cross and try to avoid soaking them if there are puddles nearby. We ask pedestrians to be bright to be seen during dark hours. Avoid using headphones and hoods that prevent peripheral vision.

“Fortunately, we see a reduction in collisions during the winter months, as the majority of road-users take extra care. We want to continue to see this trend as we enter 2021 and beyond.”

Hilary Wicks, Senior Road Safety Officer for cycling, said: “If you intend to cycle, keep an eye on the weather forecast as icy roads are extremely hazardous on two wheels. Puddles can obscure carriageway hazards such as potholes and slippery drain covers, approach these with caution or ride around them if it is safe to do so.

“Strong winds, especially gusty crosswinds, can put you off balance or induce an unexpected swerve. Give yourself extra space by riding further from the edge of the road. In very high winds it is advisable not to cycle. Be prepared to make other plans if the wind makes bike control difficult.

“Ensure your lights are in good working order with fully charged batteries. It is very difficult for drivers to see you in the dark, and on grey winter days a flashing rear light will help drivers notice you early and plan their passing manoeuvre in advance. A flashing light is great for being noticed, but in the dark it can make it difficult for drivers to accurately judge your distance from them. Best practice is to have one flashing light and one constant beam both front and rear.

“Make sure your brakes and tyres are in good working order. Be mindful that narrow, slick road bike tyres have little grip on wet roads. Ensure clothing and baggage does not obscure your lights or reflectors.

“Lastly, please try to make sure you always wear or carry something (if walking) white

or bright, particularly on dull or misty days, so that you can be seen easily. Fluorescent colours are best during the day, but at night, you need something reflective.”

For more information please visit,

15 December 2020

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