Preparing for winter driving conditions

Date published: 07 November 2017

People are being advised to be prepared for the challenges of winter driving, and all road users to take extra care. From now until April more than 300 staff, more than 130 gritters, and 12 snow blowers will be on standby to keep traffic moving safely and freely on main roads during wintry conditions.

Darker morning and evenings

Now the clocks have changed, darker mornings and evenings, and lower temperatures, around this time of year make driving conditions more difficult.

All road users are advised to take extra care.

It's important to take personal responsibility and pay attention.

Drivers should:

  • slow down
  • 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. 

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. This means that the road network which carries 80 per cent of daily traffic will be treated.

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

Arrangements are also in place to enlist the help of contractors, including farmers, to clear blocked roads following any heavy snowfalls.

The following page has more information:

Drive with care

Remember, you should heed the advice in the Highway Code and drive 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:

Up-to-date road conditions information

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

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