Drivers are being urged to take extra care on the road network today and through to tomorrow morning. Unforecast snowfall early this morning has already affected driving conditions in localised areas.
The Manchester area has been the most affected so far, with driving conditions on the M6, M62 and M60 needing careful handling by drivers. More snow is forecast for this evening.
The Met Office has forecast that wintry showers, continuing during Friday and overnight, will lead to the possibility of ice forming as temperatures fall this evening and overnight. This will occur primarily on untreated surfaces but perhaps also where grit is washed off by frequent showers. 1-3 cm of snow may accumulate on hills above around 200 meters and more than 5 cm above 400 meters. Some of the heaviest showers could produce slushy conditions even at low levels. Please be aware of possible tricky travel conditions.
Snow may settle in places where grit is not worked into the carriageway by regular traffic. This happens when traffic levels are very light overnight.
A team of over 70 Highways England gritters were out across the North overnight and this morning. The team are currently re-treating the network with a new layer of salt. However, heavy traffic has affected access to some lengths of road.
During periods of snowfall, drivers should allow plenty of space for snowploughs and drive with care as the road ahead may not have been cleared. Drivers are advised to only pass a gritter when it is safe to do so, avoiding using the hard shoulder and checking for hazards ahead. While salt is very effective at reducing the risk, conditions can be hazardous even when salt has been spread.
Drivers should check road conditions and the weather forecast before setting out. If conditions are poor, and journeys are not essential, we advise drivers to think about delaying until conditions improve – this should improve their journey, but also gives our winter fleet chance to treat the roads.
We strongly advise road users who do decide to travel during severe winter weather listen to travel bulletins on the radio and pack a severe weather travel kit, including de-icer, ice scrapers warm clothes, food, water, boots, a torch and shovel for snow. When driving in severe winter weather, drivers should leave enough distance between vehicles to stop safely.
Drivers should pay particular care at locations where local conditions such as road gradients, bends or overhanging trees mean that there may be an increased risk of ice. There is always a need to drive with care, even after road surfaces have been treated.