Prepare for winter driving conditions

Date published: 01 November 2019

Road users are urged to take extra care during the darker months and be prepared for the challenges of winter driving. From now until April around 300 staff, 130 gritters, and 12 snow blowers will be on standby to keep traffic moving on main roads during wintry conditions.

Take extra care on roads

Darker mornings, evenings and lower temperatures around this time of year make conditions more difficult.

Road surface temperatures are usually a few degrees lower, so drivers should not rely on in-car temperature sensors as an indicator of possible frost or ice.

Drivers should:

  • slow down
  • stay focused and alert
  • never ever drink or take drugs and drive
  • always wear a seatbelt

In particular, watch out for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders, as they will be much more difficult to see in the dark mornings and evenings. 

Remember, you should heed the advice in the Highway Code and drive, ride or cycle with extra care, even if roads have been salted.

You should also be prepared for road conditions changing over short distances, and take care when overtaking gritters.

You should note that:

  • a journey could start or end on an untreated section of road
  • salt does not act immediately, it needs vehicles to turn it into an effective solution
  • roads can refreeze after spreading, particularly in showery conditions

There is more information on the page below:

We all have a personal responsibility to keep ourselves and other road users safe.

Salting roads

The main roads which carry more than 1,500 vehicles a day are salted. In exceptional circumstances, some roads carrying between 1,000 and 1,500 vehicles daily will also be salted. 

Arrangements are also in place to get the help of contractors, including farmers, to clear blocked roads following heavy snow.

The following page has more information:

Extra salt bins are provided on routes not included as part of the gritting network. These are free-of-charge for people to use themselves.

Up-to-date road conditions information

You can get up-to-date information about road conditions during the winter on the TrafficwatchNI website.

More useful links

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