Ice weather warning - information and advice

Date published: 16 March 2019

Ice could make surfaces, including untreated roads, pavements and cycle paths, difficult in some areas. Adjust your driving according to the conditions. Reduce your speed and drive with extra care, even when roads have been gritted.

Weather warning

weather warning for ice has been sent out by the Met Office.

Weather warnings from the Met Office let the public and emergency services know about potentially hazardous conditions.

You can find out more about weather warnings on the Met Office website.

Plan your journey

You should always plan your journey and check the latest weather and travel advice.

If the conditions are bad or a weather warning is in place, ask yourself whether you really need to travel - or if you can delay your journey until conditions improve.

If you must travel, plan your journey carefully.

Emergency numbers

You should note the following numbers in case of emergency:

  • Emergency services – 999 or 112
  • Northern Ireland Electricity Networks – 03457 643 643
  • NI Gas Emergency Service – 0800 002 001
  • Northern Ireland Water Waterline – 03457 440 088
  • Flooding Incident Line – 0300 2000 100
  • Housing Executive – 03448 920 901

Report an issue with snow or ice

If you want to report an issue with snow or ice, you can do so online at this link:

Roads information

However carefully you plan your journey, things can go wrong. An accident or bad weather could mean that a road is closed for a time.  

You can get up-to-date traffic and roads information at the following link:

School closures

You can find information about school closures at this link:

Public transport

You can find the latest information about bus and rail services on the Translink website

Local councils

If local council services are affected by adverse weather, the latest information should be available on council websites.

Frozen or burst pipes

There is information about how to reduce the risk of frozen pipes and what to do if a pipe bursts at the following link:

Health advice and checking on elderly or vulnerable people

There is information about keeping warm, staying as healthy as possible, and checking in on elderly or vulnerable relatives, friends and neighbours during cold weather on this page:

Forests and country parks

You can find updates about forest and country parks on the forest news and events or country parks pages. 

Power cuts

If adverse weather causes power cuts, you can get the latest information at this link:

If your power is off and you want to report it or get more information, contact:

Flooding

If any flooding happens, you can report it by phoning the Flooding Incident Line on 0300 2000 100.

There is general flooding advice on this page:

Contact numbers for agriculture or environment issues

If you have concerns about agricultural issues, animal welfare, water pollution, or rural support you can find contact details on the DAERA website.

Drive to suit the conditions

During adverse weather, you should:

  • clear ice off all windows, lights, number plate, and vehicle roof before you set off
  • make sure the mirrors are clear and windows are de-misted thoroughly
  • use at least dipped headlights in poor visibility
  • keep well back from the road user in front
  • be extra cautious at road junctions where road markings may not be visible
  • be prepared for the road conditions to change over relatively short distances

Even after roads have been treated in winter, driving conditions may remain challenging, especially if the road location and layout mean there is a high risk of ice. Be aware that ice forms more easily on:

  • hilly or exposed roads
  • roads that pass under or over a bridge
  • roads shaded by trees or buildings

Try not to brake suddenly in icy conditions - it may lock up the wheels and you could skid.

If you start to skid:

  • release the brake pedal fully or ease off the accelerator
  • steer into the skid
  • as you straighten, steer back along the road

You can find out more about driving in wintry conditions at this link:

Check and service your vehicle

You can reduce your chances of breaking down by regularly servicing your car. You should also:

  • top up anti-freeze and screenwash
  • check for wear and tear on wiper blades (replace them as soon as they start to smear rather than clean windows)
  • make sure your battery is fully charged (batteries last between two and four years - replace yours if it's no longer reliable)
  • keep tyre pressure at the manufacturer's recommended level and check you have at least 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the breadth of the tread and around the entire circumference
  • wipe dirt and spray off headlamps and make sure all bulbs are working

You can find out more on the vehicle maintenance page.

Winter kit

During winter you are advised to carry a winter kit in your vehicle. It should include:

  • ice scraper and de-icer
  • torch and spare batteries (or a wind-up torch)
  • in-car phone charger
  • warm clothes and blankets
  • high-visibility vest or jacket
  • boots
  • first aid kit
  • jump leads for the car battery
  • empty fuel can
  • a shovel (if there's a chance of snow)
  • road atlas
  • sunglasses (the low winter sun and glare off snow can be dazzling)
  • two reflective warning triangles

If you're planning a long trip or if severe weather is forecast, you may want to also have in your car:

  • any medication you need to take regularly
  • food and a thermos with a hot drink

Driving and walking in flooded areas

Do not travel in heavy rainstorms unless absolutely necessary.

In flooded areas, drivers should not:

  • enter flood water that is moving or is more than four inches deep
  • under any circumstances, drive through fast-flowing water as the car could be swept away

In more shallow but passable water:

  • slow down
  • avoid creating bow waves which can damage your car engine; and
  • remember to test the brakes after leaving the water

Do not attempt to walk through flooded areas. Even shallow water moving fast can sweep you off your feet and there may be hidden dangers such as:

  • open drains
  • damaged road surfaces
  • submerged debris; or
  • deep channels which can result in serious injury or, in the worst cases, death

If you do become stranded in flood water and you feel there is a risk to life, dial 999 for emergency assistance.

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