News Archive 2014
Highways Agency Winter Campaign 2014 - 2015
Driving in severe weather: be prepared and be
Carry an emergency kit
Gather together the following items and pack in your vehicle at the start of the winter season, you never know when you might need them!
- Ice scraper and de-icer
- Torch and spare batteries - or a wind-up torch
- Warm clothes and blankets - for you and all passengers
- First aid kit
- Jump leads
- A shovel
- Road atlas
- Sunglasses (the low winter sun and glare off snow can be
Before you set off - check the latest traffic and weather
- Have you planned your journey?
In severe and wintry weather it's even more important to plan your journey. The Highways Agency provides up to the minute traffic reports for its network of 4,300 miles of motorways and major A roads across England.
Just a few minutes checking information services before you set off can make all the difference to your journey.
- Before you set off
The Highways Agency website includes the latest traffic reports, maps showing how the traffic is flowing on England's motorways and major A roads, a motorway flow diagram, views from CCTV cameras, average speeds and the displays on motorway message signs.
- Road and weather conditions may change, drive with care
When you're on the road, pay attention to the changing road,
traffic and weather conditions. Be ready to slow down and take more
care if you need to, particularly on bends and exposed roads. Don't
be lulled into a false sense of security - even if you drive every
day on the same stretch of road.
Additional information and advice on driving in adverse weather conditions is available in the Highway Code or by visiting the Highways Agency winter web pages.
- Updates on the move
If you are away from your computer or have already set out on your journey, there are still lots of ways to get Highways Agency live traffic information. On overhead message signs - motorway control centres will flash up important travel messages, including warning you of delays and advising of alternative routes. There are also automatic signs telling you how long it will take traffic to reach certain destinations at that time.
- When you take a break
On long journeys, consider taking a break at regular intervals -
and that's an ideal time to check the traffic conditions on the
road ahead. While you are safely parked, check the latest
information via your mobile phone, iPhone or laptop. Never
stop on the hard shoulder to do this and never use your
mobile phone while driving. The Highways Agency also has
information screens displaying live traffic updates at most
motorway service areas. For more information check Highways Agency
winter web pages
Driving in severe weather
- Driving through snow and ice
The Highways Agency looks after England's
motorways and major A roads, and local authorities look after all
the other roads. Both work as hard as they can to keep their
networks clear during severe weather.
Stick to the main roads where you can and avoid exposed routes.
You should drive with care and respect the road conditions wherever you drive, but not every road can be treated. You need to take even more care driving on minor roads. Even if the time and location of snowfall is perfectly forecast, it will still take time to clear the snow after it has fallen. Remember though, snow ploughs can't get through if the road or motorway is full of stationary traffic, so give Highways Agency and local authority teams the space they need to do their job and help you on your journey!
Steep hills and exposed roads are also likely to present more challenging driving conditions in snow and ice, so if you could avoid these it might make your journey easier. Make sure you can see and be seen. Clear snow and ice off all windows, lights and number plates.
Leave extra space between you and other vehicles. Take even more care looking out for others that may not be able to stop and be extra cautious at road junctions where road markings may not be visible
If you use a higher gear than normal it will help to avoid wheel spin on a slippery surface. Accelerate and brake gently to avoid skidding.
- Driving in rain and floods
When the road is wet it can take twice as long to stop. Slow down and maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front.
If your vehicle loses grip, or "aquaplanes", on surface water take your foot off the accelerator to slow down. Do not brake or steer suddenly because you have less control of the steering and brakes.
When faced with a flooded road, be very careful as you can't always tell how deep the water is. Just 30cm of flowing water can wash a car away.
If you have no alternative but to drive through floods, drive slowly, use a low gear and try to keep the engine revving at a high rate. Move forward continuously to avoid stalling the engine. When driving an automatic vehicle, engage and hold in a low gear. And remember to test your brakes after driving through water; they may be ineffective.
- Driving in fog
In reduced visibility, where you cannot see as
much of the road ahead, you will need to slow down and drive more
carefully. Use dipped headlights so that other drivers can
Fog lights and full beam can dazzle other drivers. Use fog lights when it's really thick (less than 100m visibility) and then don't forget to turn them off when conditions improve.
Fog is often patchy so try not to speed up as soon as visibility improves. You could suddenly find yourself back in thick fog further up the road.
- Driving in windy weather
Take extra care on the roads and plan your
journey by checking the latest weather conditions. The
traffic news, overhead motorway signs and Highways Agency digital
information services will say if any roads or bridges are closed
because of high winds.
Though high-sided vehicles are particularly affected by windy weather, strong winds can also blow other vehicles off course. This can happen on open stretches of road exposed to strong crosswinds, or when passing bridges, high-sided vehicles or gaps in trees.
Maintenance teams responsible for ensuring that traffic runs smoothly on the strategic M6toll route through the West Midlands have welcomed their first Euro VI truck, a 7.5-tonne Mercedes-Benz Atego.
Thousands of dedicated bikers braved the inclement weather on Saturday 4th October to take part in this year's Ride to the Wall.
A local fundraising campaign is under way to raise thousands of pounds for repair work to an historic Chasetown church.
The M6toll has rewarded its 160 millionth customer with free travel on the motorway for the next 12 months.
Local Primary Schools in Staffordshire got a welcome financial boost to their school projects thanks to the generosity of Midland Expressway Limited (MEL); operators of the M6toll road.
M6toll Emergency Repairs
The lane restrictions on the M6toll to allow safe repair of a fire damaged structure have now been removed. Dunton Lane (under the M6toll) remains closed whilst the repairs are completed.
We apologise for any inconvenience caused by these emergency repairs that are necessary to repair damage caused by a third party incident.
Local Primary Schools in Lichfield and Burntwood received a welcome financial boost to their school projects thanks to the generosity of Midland Expressway Limited (MEL); operators of the M6toll road.
Our Motorway Service Area (MSA) which is operated by Roadchef will be undergoing some redevelopment
over the next 6 weeks; the service area will however remain open
during this time.
For further information on the developments please call Roadchef Norton Canes on 01543 272540 or visit http://www.roadchef.com/travelling-for-coach-offers.html