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Drive safely this winter

Motorists are being reminded to make sure their vehicles are well maintained and serviced as we head towards winter.

North East Lincolnshire Council (NELC) is also reminding drivers to drive to the conditions once the winter weather arrives and not take to the roads at all when bad weather is forecast.

There are plenty of simple steps you can take at the start of winter, before the bad weather hits, to prepare your vehicle and reduce the chances of it breaking down.

Check your vehicle is in good running order, make sure tyres have plenty of tread and consider regular servicing to help minimise the risk.

Cllr Ray Oxby, portfolio holder for Housing and Environment at NELC, said: “When the weather does take a turn for the worst, it’s vital that you check the latest weather forecasts and travel bulletins before traveling and allow more time for your journey. If the weather is very bad, you need to ask yourself if your journey is really necessary at all. Be prepared to change your plans at short notice and pack an emergency car kit in case you do get stuck, especially if it’s a long trip.

“When it does snow, our gritting trucks and snow ploughs need to be in front of you clearing the roads and not stuck in a tailback. If you can avoid your journey or at least wait until conditions improve, it gives our winter service teams the chance to treat the roads and keep the network on the move for everyone.”

Nationally, the Met Office will trigger cold weather alerts from 1 November 2013 to 31 March 2014, on the basis of either low temperatures of 2°C or less, or severe winter weather (heavy snow or widespread ice).

In severe weather you need to allow more time for your journey or change your plans altogether by working from home or waiting until the roads are cleared.

Gritting trucks, snow ploughs and the emergency services can struggle to get about when the roads are full of stationery traffic.

When it snows, try to keep moving steadily in as high a gear as possible. If you get stuck and others get stuck behind you, it doesn’t take long for traffic to grind to a halt and block the road.

Drivers are reminded that even when roads are treated, black ice can still form and they must take extra care and drive sensibly. When road surface temperatures reach minus six or below, rock salt is less effective.

Jason Longhurst, head of development at the council, said: “Relatively few people have experience of driving in extreme conditions, such as freezing fog or heavy snow, and motorists need to understand how their driving will be affected.

“If everyone takes the time to think about their journey before setting off, including the condition of the vehicle, what supplies might be needed and the route, it will help to keep all road users safe and moving at this time of year.”

For more information from the council, including maps of our main gritting routes, visit www.nelincs.gov.uk/winterservice, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NELincs or sign up to receive email news bulletins by following the 'register' link from the home page of the council's website, www.nelincs.gov.uk.