Travel news: Essex drivers told to get ready for winter

ICY weather has sparked a stark warning from road chiefs who are urging the public to stay safe on roads this winter.

The Highways Agency, which manages and maintains motorways and major A roads, including the M11, A120 and A14, is urging road users to make sure that they are prepared.

Transport and roads minister Mike Penning said: “The Highways Agency is prepared for winter, but road users must also play their part.

“Not all journeys are essential in severe weather, but if people feel that they must travel during severe conditions there are some simple steps that can reduce the risk of being caught out by the weather.

“That’s why I am urging all drivers to carry out simple vehicle checks before they set out; to carry a severe weather emergency kit in their vehicles; to monitor the traffic and weather conditions and plan their journeys.”

The Highways Agency reckons it has learned from the severe weather of the last two winters, and strengthened its capability to face extended spells of severe weather.

State-of-the-art winter vehicles are being used in more parts of the country, and the Agency has reviewed salt stock levels and established a strategic salt stock to help ensure that there is enough salt to deal with severe winter conditions.

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As well as snow and ice, strong winds, heavy rain and thick fog can affect journeys in the winter season. Met Office weather forecasters based at the Highways Agency’s National Traffic Control Centre will provide information on weather conditions across the motorway and trunk road network.

Drivers can obtain up to the minute information on winter traffic conditions from:

- the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000

- the Highways Agency’s ‘Traffic Radio’, broadcast on DAB digital

- the Agency’s website at

- the Agency’s iPhone app and mobile website

For detailed information on local and national weather conditions, visit the Met Office website at or listen to local radio broadcasts.