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Drivers urged to take extra care in freezing conditions

Drivers are being urged to be prepared before setting out on journeys this weekend after Highways England issued a severe weather alert for the north.

With freezing rain forecast an alert has been issued from 10am on Saturday until 6am on Sunday, Highways England’s gritting teams will be working around the clock to treat roads.

An amber Highways England warning for freezing rain will be in place on Saturday across the north west between 10am and 1pm and across the north east between 3pm and 6pm. A Met Office forecast also includes warnings of sleet and snow with their alert covering the Midlands area.

The whole of the north is expected to be affected by freezing rain, with snow expected on Highways England’s higher routes such as the A66, M62 junctions 21-24, M6 and A628 Woodhead Pass.

Highways England’s national winter and severe weather team leader, Paul Furlong, said:

“Gritters will be out treating our roads around the clock, however freezing rain can cause black ice to form very rapidly and preparations may not prevent incidents occurring. We will continue to monitor conditions and re-treat the network where necessary.

“It is essential to keep your distance and reduce your speed – black ice is difficult to see, so even when conditions seem normal, it can be very slippery leading to very dangerous driving conditions.

“Drivers should plan their journeys, monitor weather reports and pack a winter kit of blankets, food, water and a shovel.”

Will Lang, chief meteorologist at the Met Office said: “Saturday’s severe weather has triggered multiple Met Office warnings, with strong winds, heavy rain, freezing rain, snow and ice forecast for many parts of England. These hazards are likely to make driving conditions difficult and dangerous, so we are urging people to check the latest weather forecast and warnings and to take extra care.”

Superintendent Justin Bibby said: “Public safety is our priority, so we need to get the message out about tomorrow’s predicted adverse weather.

“Freezing rain coupled with sleet and/or snow can quickly make conditions treacherous”.

Police would ask that you pay particular attention to the following:

  • Vulnerable adults: Check on vulnerable adults in your community, please make sure they have everything they need and that they are ok.
  • Driving: Conditions could be hazardous, black ice cannot always be seen.
  • Fell walking: This is not advised unless you are experienced and have the correct adverse weather equipment.
  • Walking in general: Pavements could quickly become hazardous.
  • Events: Events may be affected by the adverse weather, please check with event organisers.

Who to contact:

  • If you find a tree down on a main road please contact Highways England on 0300 123 5000.
  • If you find a tree down on a minor road please contact your local council (visit your councils website for contact details).
  • For power cuts contact Electricity North West on 105.
  • Please contact 101 if you need police assistance. Always dial 999 in an emergency.

Keep up-to-date with:

The weather: www.metoffice.gov.uk.

The latest situation on the roads: www.cumbria.police.uk/traffic-link-map.

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