Published Thursday, 26 October 2017
Thursday : Winter driving
Driving at any time of year requires constant care and attention but winter conditions call for specific driving skills:
Snow and ice
- Before setting out clear snow from the roof and bonnet of your vehicle and make sure all your windows are de-iced; snow shifting while you drive could block your view and be a danger to other road users
- Even if you have seen gritters go past, assume roads have not been gritted and remember that ice can still form after they have been gritted
- Always drive at a speed appropriate to the conditions
- Beware of black ice, particularly isolated patches
- Manoeuvre gently and avoid harsh steering, braking and acceleration
- Watch out for gritters and stay well clear of them – don’t overtake
- Use dipped headlights and your fog lights
- Don’t speed up if visibility suddenly improves – you may soon be in another fog patch
- Be aware that high sided vehicles will have particular difficulties
- Watch out for severe gusts if you suddenly reach an exposed section of road, for example on a bridge, or if you pass a high sided vehicle
- Watch out for water ponding on the road
- Slow down and leave more space
- If your vehicle loses grip, or begins to aquaplane, take your foot off the accelerator to slow down
Top tip: If you get stuck in a snowdrift, try to manoeuvre yourself out by moving slowly backwards and forwards using the highest gear you can
For more information see:
- Roads in Winter pages on the council website
- Ready Scotland for advice on winter at home, travelling, at work and in the community
- Driving in bad weather from Transport Scotland
And, remember, during the winter months even regular journeys can bring the unexpected.
Wednesday: Planning ahead
Journey planning can make all the difference in winter conditions.
It’s a good idea to think well ahead about all your options including alternative routes, transport options and what you can do if it’s not safe to take to the road.
If you are going to travel be aware of the weather forecast and any current or predictable difficulties – broadcast and internet services will carry the latest updates.
The weather can sometimes change very quickly so check out the forecast before you decide to travel. You can get this from:
- local radio or TV stations,
- the Met Office or the Met Office weather app
- local 24hr forecast links posted on the @SLRoads Twitter feed.
In particular, listen for any severe weather warnings being issued by the Met Office.
Tuesday: Winter in South Lanarkshire – the facts
Did you know?
- Salt: last year we used 25,000 tonnes of salt. Our salt stocks going into this winter stand at 35,000 tonnes – five times the stock we held eight years ago. National salt shortages of the relatively recent past have shown that all councils have to be well prepared
- Gritting: 52% of the total road network will be gritted when snow or ice is forecast – including all A-class roads and important access roads (e.g. hospitals, fire stations, isolated communities). Typically, councils grit 48% of their networks, so we do more than many
- Our resources: 180 trained road workers are on call to operate our fleet of 40 gritters, 66 snowploughs, one snowblower, 19 tractors and five loaders to salt the roads, clear snow and do all we can to keep roads and footpaths in as safe a condition as possible.
Throughout the winter we make sure local communities are as informed as possible about prevailing weather conditions and how we plan to treat our network.
We do this in a number of ways but most commonly on our Roads in Winter pages which have full details of our winter maintenance policy and procedures, including main gritting routes and grit bin locations.
You can also follow us on twitter @SLCRoads and @southlancouncil for 24 hour weather forecasts and information on when the gritters will be out.
Winter awareness week - Monday: Winter on the roads – are you and your car ready?
Over the last few winters we have had ample reminders of just how unpredictable the weather can be. But whether this year brings snow, storms or downpours, being prepared ahead of time can help you be ready for the worst.
During the week we will be providing a range of information and advice including:
- The council’s plans and preparations
- Preparing your vehicle - winter driving tips
- Planning ahead
- Advice on coming to work in severe weather
Even with all the advanced technology packed into modern cars it is important to remember the basics when it comes to driving in winter.
In the car
- Make sure you have adequate antifreeze in your radiator and low temperature screenwash
- Check all your lights are working
- Cold weather is hard on batteries – if in doubt have yours checked before winter
- Check your tyres are correctly inflated and have plenty of grip. Consider whether you need to fit winter tyres – these give much improved grip
- A winter service will help make sure your vehicle is ready
A basic cold weather and emergency kit should include:
- Ice scraper and de-icer
- A torch that works, and some spare batteries
- A shovel
- A small bag of salt
- A first aid kit
- Jump leads or battery pack
- A road map, should you need to find an alternative route
- Warm clothes and blankets
- An in-car charger for phone or sat nav could prove helpful
On public transport and foot
If you are walking on pavements or are using public transport make sure you have:
- Warm clothing and footwear with good grip
- A way of contacting your family
- A snack and something to drink for a long journey
Footpaths in residential areas will generally not be gritted by the council so you can help by clearing the footpath outside your home and helping less able neighbours – remember grit bins are there for you to treat public roads and footpaths.
For more information see: