SERP partners prepared for cold spell

SERP snow road
Image: Essex Highways via Twitter

With yellow weather warnings for snow across the county for much of this week, the Safer Essex Roads Partnership is encouraging drivers to be ‘informed, careful, vigilant and prepared’ before setting out on the roads.

Forecasters predict the worst weather will hit the county on Tuesday morning (27 Feb). With an amber warning in place from 2am until 12pm, there is the likelihood of travel delays on roads, with the risk of some stranded vehicles and passengers.

Essex County Fire and Rescue is urging all drivers to be prepared and adapt their driving to the conditions.

Andy Stroulger, RTC reduction manager, said:

“We want people to remain safe and to recognise that snow and ice present difficulties that we are not always prepared for.

“Bad weather is often blamed for causing accidents, but the real cause is inappropriate driving for the conditions that exist.

“We urge drivers to be prepared and adapt their driving and their preparations to the conditions.”

Essex Highways says it is ‘ready for whatever the weather throws at us’, with gritter drivers on call to take on extra shifts to help keep roads as safe as possible.

Cllr Ian Grundy, Essex County Council cabinet member for highways, said:

“Our Essex Highways teams are well prepared for the wintry weather that has been forecast over the coming days.

“We get constantly updated national, regional and very local weather forecasts to help make sure we are ready for whatever the weather throws at us.”

Both Essex Highways and Essex County Fire and Rescue have published a series of tips for drivers who need to travel over the coming days, advising them to be informed, careful, vigilant and prepared.

Be informed

  • Check if the roads you will be using are on the salting route – 40% of the network is treated in icy conditions.
  • Reconsider your route/journey if the route is not salted
  • Check the up-to-date information from the council’s travel centre – and listen to local and national radio for travel and weather information

Be careful

  • Only travel if it is necessary
  • Try and avoid driving immediately (about two hours) before the snow is forecast to arrive. This will allow the gritting lorries to clear the roads a lot quicker  
  • Be aware of pedestrians and cyclists, keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front and drive at appropriate speeds
  • Overtaking vehicles in wintry conditions can be extremely dangerous. Try to keep your distance from other vehicles and be patient, allowing extra time for your journey
  • Even if the road is clear, or looks treated, take extra care because salting does not guarantee the road is free from ice
  • Remember to take regular breaks from driving – tiredness and loss of concentration are major contributing factors to road accidents
  • Plan ahead. If you are in charge of staff at work, have a contingency plan before the bad weather arrives.

Be vigilant
The most common cause of breakdowns in winter is associated with battery problems. Greater reliance on car heaters and lights means motorists are twice as likely to suffer a flat battery in winter as they are in the summer.

Drivers should check that:

  • Tyres are at the correct pressures and there is sufficient tread – a minimum of 4mm is recommended in snow conditions
  • Vehicle lights are clean and working
  • Wiper blades are effective
  • Battery is in good condition and fully charged
  • Vehicle anti-freeze is the right concentration (your garage can do this for you)
  • Windows and mirrors are clear of ice or condensation

Be prepared
Keep the following in your car:

  • Ice scraper
  • De-icer
  • Torch
  • Warm clothes
  • Blanket
  • Shovel
  • Food and drink
  • High visibility jacket
  • First aid kit

Click here for more winter driving tips, and here for information about which roads across Essex are being gritted.

26 February 2018

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