Highways teams ready for the ‘Beast from the East’

Highways teams are gearing up for a very busy week as the ‘Beast from the East’ potentially brings Siberian weather and hazardous driving conditions to Somerset.

Drivers are advised to plan ahead and take precautions with temperatures set to stay close to freezing all week and Met Office warnings in place for snow and ice.

Somerset County Council is closely monitoring road conditions ready to send out its fleet of 23 gritters to treat 900 miles of main roads when ice is predicted.

Contingency plans to treat a further 450 miles of key minor roads and team up with partners and farmers to clear snow can also be quickly activated if required. Check www.travelsomerset.co.uk/gritting to view gritting routes on a searchable map.

Despite more than 60 salting actions already this winter, there are still more than 3,000 tonnes of salt in depots across Somerset, with fresh supplies on the way.

Councillor John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “We’re keeping a close eye on the forecasts and rest assured our teams will be out there whatever happens to help keep our main roads as clear as possible.

“We’re prepared, but please make sure you are prepared too. If we do see some significant snowfall then bear in mind it will take some time to clear – avoid non-essential travel and stay up to date with the latest road conditions at www.travelsomerset.co.uk or by following @TravelSomerset on Twitter.”

Somerset Road Safety offers the following advice to help keep you safe in wintry conditions:

  • Check the forecast and avoid travelling if bad conditions are predicted.
  • Leave more time for your journey and to prepare your vehicle.
  • Completely de-ice the windows of your vehicle before driving off.
  • Remember that not all roads are salted. Take extra care when driving/riding on unsalted roads and remember that ice can still form on roads that have been treated.
  • Mind your speed and drive/ride for the road conditions.
  • Increase the distance between your vehicle and the one in front – stopping distances can be 10 times longer in icy conditions.
  • Use your lights so that other road users can see you.
  • Carry an emergency kit:
    • Food/water
    • Warm clothes/blanket
    • Jump leads
    • Shovel
    • Wellington boots
    • First aid kit
    • Road atlas
    • Fully charged mobile

Receive daily gritting updates and live reports on traffic and road conditions by following @TravelSomerset on Twitter. You can also receive gritting updates and check which roads are treated on the searchable map at www.travelsomerset.co.uk/gritting.

For more road safety advice, please visit www.somersetroadsafety.org or follow Somerset Road Safety on social media.