Heavy snow forecast - traffic warning

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The Highways Agency has issued an amber alert and is warning motorists to be prepared for fresh falls of snow, heavy in places, on Friday morning (January 18th).

In western areas the snow is expected to arrive before the rush hour, bringing the potential for travel disruption. Motorists are advised to check the weather forecast this evening and allow extra time for their journey in the morning.

The snow is then forecast to spread east affecting other areas later in the morning.

Steve Crosthwaite, head of the Agency’s National Traffic Operations Centre says: “It would certainly be a good idea to check the latest forecast before you go to bed tonight so you’re prepared for the morning – and then set your alarm a bit earlier so you have extra time to prepare your car and make your journey in the morning.

“During periods of severe weather we also suggest people consider whether their journey is essential. They may want to delay their travel until conditions improve and to allow our winter fleet the chance to treat the roads.”

The Highways Agency, which looks after motorways and major A roads in England, has a 500-strong fleet of salt spreaders and snow ploughs available. They have been constantly treating the roads as necessary and have already travelled more than 650,000 miles this winter.

Steve Crosthwaite adds: “We are using salt to treat the road network and have ploughs and snow blowers on standby if necessary. Our traffic officers are working around the clock to monitor our road network, deal with any incidents and keep traffic moving.”

Met Office forecasters based alongside the Highways Agency in its National Traffic Operations Centre say after midnight rain moving into the South West is expected to increasingly turn to snow as it moves inland and meets colder air over Devon, the Bristol area, the West Midlands and into north-west England. This snow could be heavy in places with some drifting on trans-Pennine routes. More eastern areas, including London, will also see snow later.

Drivers should check their local media for updated weather and travel advice before setting out on journeys. If they are travelling they should keep up to date with weather and travel advice, heed warnings and electronic message signs and drive according to the conditions – leaving extra time for journeys and extra room for braking and avoiding sudden manoeuvres such as braking or changing lanes suddenly. Incidents and breakdowns can prevent winter service vehicles from treating the roads, causing further problems.

Information about a winter driving kit and other advice to help motorists be prepared for winter is on the Highways Agency website at www​.highways​.gov​.uk/​w​i​n​ter.

Up-to-date information on road conditions on England’s motorways and trunk roads is available on the Highways Agency website at www​.highways​.gov​.uk/​t​r​a​f​fic or by calling the Highways Agency Information Line at 0300 123 5000.

Traffic information is available on Twitter by following one of eight regional channels with winter driving information on @winterhighways and on Facebook (www​.facebook​.com/​w​i​n​t​e​r​h​i​g​h​w​ays).