SAFER WINTER DRIVING
What we do
Transport Scotland, the Scottish Governmentís national transport agency, maintains motorways and trunk roads to allow safe movement of traffic and to minimise delays caused by bad weather. Local councils are responsible for other roads.
From 1 October to 15 May, a 24-hour dedicated winter service operates on all of Scotlandís trunk roads.
During this period roads and footpaths are salted and ploughed to clear ice and snow.
From 1 November to 31 March routes most at risk to winter conditions are patrolled by our contractors during the night.
Level of service
When weather forecasts predict snow and ice prevention measures are taken to:
Commence salt spreading within 1 hour and
Complete salt spreading on the route within 2 hours of starting.
Cyclists and pedestrians
Our contractors are required to clear ice and snow from footpaths and cycleways that form part of the trunk road system with priority given to busy urban areas.
What you can do
Despite the high level of service provided there will be times when motorways and trunk roads will not remain completely free of snow and ice. Sudden weather changes occur and motorists should be aware that:
Access to the network may not always be possible.
It takes time for the salt to become effective.
Rain can wash salt off roads.
In extremely low temperatures salting may not always prevent ice forming.
Before you drive
In winter it is even more important to check that your vehicle is well maintained and serviced. Motorists should:
Keep the lights, windows and mirrors clean and free from ice and snow.
Add anti-freeze to the radiator and winter additive to the windscreen washer bottles.
Make sure wipers and lights are in good working order.
Check that tyres have plenty of tread depth and are maintained at the correct pressure.
Before you leave
Check the weather forecast and road conditions.
Consider alternative routes.
Consider alternative modes of transport.
Allow extra time for your journey.
Ensure that your vehicle is prepared for the journey.
Carry warm clothing, blankets, hot drinks, a torch, a shovel, and suitable footwear.
Tell someone at your destination what time you expect to arrive.
Visit the Traffic Scotland website www.trafficscotland.org to identify any problems on trunk roads.
During your journey
Reduce speed in bad weather.
Increase stopping distances.
Avoid sudden acceleration and braking.
Use dipped headlights in poor conditions.
Take breaks every 2 or 3 hours.
Do not pass closed snow gates.
Listen to radio travel bulletins.
Observe information on Variable Message Signs.
Ensure that your vehicle will not block access (abandoned vehicles can obstruct spreaders).
If possible remain in your vehicle unless there is a safety risk.
Maintain your circulation by moving about.
Driving in fog
Watch out for fog, it drifts rapidly and is often patchy.
Drive very slowly using dipped headlights.
Use fog-lights if visibility is seriously reduced, but remember to switch them off when visibility improves.
Do not hang on to the tail-lights of the vehicle in front. This gives you a false sense of security and means you may be driving too close.
Do not speed up suddenly, even if it seems to be clearing. You can suddenly find yourself back in thick fog.
Driving into winter sun
Dazzle from winter sun can be dangerous. If it is below the visor use sunglasses.
Driving on flooded roads
Do not attempt to cross if the water seems too deep.
Drive slowly in first gear but keep the engine speed high by slipping the clutch ó this will stop you from stalling.
Avoid the deepest water, usually near the kerb.
Remember ó test your brakes when you are through the flood before you drive at normal speed.
"Traffic Scotland" is Transport Scotlandís intelligent transport system on the trunk road network which enables the collection and distribution of real-time traffic information relating to incidents and events on the network.
For up-to-the-minute information on roadworks, accidents, congestion, journey times and weather affecting the trunk road network, visit www.trafficscotland.org .
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