Are You Ready for Winter?

Traffic Scotland is here to ensure road users are provided with current and reliable information regarding the Trunk Road Network. They aim to ensure the travelling public have all available facts to make an informed decision about their journey.

Firstly, please check out their  Severe Weather Document for information and further links to Police and Met Office.


Planning Ahead

We are all about information and we try to provide as much as possible to allow for the road user to decide on their travel plans, whether that means using an alternate route or possibly postponing the journey for better weather.

For live road updates, weather issues, journey planning, public transport information and much more, please use the services below:

  • Visit my.trafficscotland.org on your mobile or trafficscotland.org on your desktop
  • Follow us on Twitter @trafficscotland
  • Call our Customer Care Line on 0800 028 1414
  • Or alternatively download the Traveline Scotland app to your phone or tablet

The Traffic Scotland mobile website my.trafficscotland.org and desktop website trafficscotland.org both offer a range of web and internet information services. The service not only provides access to key information (cameras, roadworks, congestion, weather stations, events), it incorporates the 24/7 Traffic Scotland Internet Radio and also connects to Twitter.

This service compliments information via roadside Variable Message Signs and is also passed to media outlets (radio, television and other websites).

If travelling by public transport, please check the Traveline Scotland website or download the app to your mobile device. Traveline Scotland provide information on public transport across a number of transport operators and will provide you with the latest public transport information to plan your journey.


High Wind Restrictions

When there are high winds the Police and Transport Scotland communicate warnings regarding specific danger to high-sided vehicles on the network, including bridges. By high-sided, we mean vehicles that are of greater than average height (for example double decker buses, high-sided rigid or articulated HGVs, furniture vans, Luton vans, vehicles towing trailers or caravans, modified transit vans and similar vehicles).

Operational procedures and advice in relation to high winds are designed to maintain the safety of bridge users and to minimise disruption to traffic caused by overturned vehicles. Should there be any wind restrictions drivers of high sided vehicles should divert via an alternative route as early as possible. It is every driver’s responsibility to consider the safety of their own vehicle and that of other road users. You can check the Forecast High Wind Restrictions page on our website for an indication of the possible bridge closures over the forecast period.

Drivers should be aware of the height and weight of their vehicle at all times. If you are unsure if your vehicle classifies as high sided, we would advise that you do not cross until the warnings have been removed.

If you are in a high sided vehicle, ignore the warnings and then are overturned by the winds you could face prosecution for dangerous driving under Section 2 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.



Depending on the forecast weather conditions, Transport Scotland has a fleet of gritters ready to deploy to treat the trunk roads. All this information including a map of the treated trunk routes throughout Scotland and the new Trunk Road Gritter Tracker can be found via the Winter Gritter Information page on the website.


I.C.E.– In case of Emergency

It is important during times of severe weather that you always tell someone when to expect you in case of incident out on the network.

Most importantly we advise that you keep your phone fully charged so you are able to contact someone in case of emergency or to ensure emergency service personnel can access your contacts to inform your family if you have been involved in an incident. It is important to note that these details could also be written down in your wallet to ensure you have more than one emergency contact on you at all times.


Emergency Kit

If you are a regular commuter and spend a number of hours in your car each week, the Scottish Government advise that you prepare an emergency kit to have in case of a crisis.

The need for these kits is more likely during the winter months due to the likelihood of severe weather issues, however preparing your car prior to your journey is the most important aspect of planning ahead. Please utilise the features highlighted above before you set off for any trip.

Between October and April is regarded as the winter period to those in the transport industry and it is within this time period that you should add items to your emergency kit to make it more winter friendly.

Below is a list of items we recommend you include, the purpose of this is to ensure your safety and comfort if you are stranded due to severe weather or a major incident on the Network.

We recommend you have:

  • A first aid kit
  • Jump leads
  • Torch
  • Batteries
  • Map
  • Blanket and a reflective warning sign.

During the winter, we suggest you add:

  • An ice scraper
  • De-icer
  • Snow shovel
  • Cat litter or a piece of carpet for grip in snow
  • Warm clothes, boots/waterproof shoes and socks
  • Matches
  • High visibility vest
  • Screen wash
  • Non-perishable food/snacks
  • Water and a flask of hot liquid.

*Please note* – All items of emergency kit should be secured down either in a duffle bag, box with lid etc. Having free standing items in your car can be dangerous in the event of an RTC or another incident.

The Scottish Government, alongside Transport Scotland, provide a wealth of information about planning for severe weather and winter in general via the Get Ready Scotland website. If you are embarking on an unusually long journey or are in an area prone to extreme weather this website provides information, advice and further links to professional help.


Friendly Advice

Below is a range of advice on driving during severe weather, for further information and advice please visit the Ready Scotland website.

  • Weather warnings: Yellow – Be Aware; Amber – Be Prepared; Red – Take Action.
  • When driving during fog/dusk/dawn please ensure you have the correct lights on at all times.
  • Watch out for sun glare, have a pair of sunglasses in your car for those bright winter mornings.
  • Wear comfortable and warm shoes to drive in bad weather to avoid them slipping from the pedals.
  • Leave a safe distance to the car in front.
  • In *rain* your stopping distance is doubled.
  • In *snow/ice* your stopping distance is ten times longer.
  • Remember to check your tyres and lights before a journey.
  • Give your car time to heat up and only drive when you have full visibility from all mirrors and windows.
  • Minimum safe tyre tread is 1.6mm.
  • When driving on *snow* gentle and smooth manoeuvres are the best way, keep it light on the clutch, otherwise you drive the tyre further into the snow and this is when you will get stuck.
  • *Downhill in snow* – Reduce your speed before the slope, use a low gear and avoid touching the breaks.
  • *Uphill in snow* – Wait until it is clear to drive (you do not want to stop half way up) and keep a constant speed and gear, avoiding shifting   while on the slope.
  • Do NOT rely on your brakes to slow you down in snow, stay in a high gear and let the car stop naturally or risk skidding.
  • Always make sure you are topped up with fuel and in snowy weather ensure your exhaust is not being blocked by snow as toxic gasses can enter the vehicle.
  • Avoid using local shortcuts during the winter months as they are less likely to have been treated for ice and snow.
  • In falling snow make sure to use your dipped headlights or fog lights to make yourself more visible to road users and pedestrians. Make sure to TURN THEM OFF when snow subsides.
  • Keep on top of your screen wash and ensure you have the right consistency to prevent freezing.
  • To avoid your car door locks freezing spray a little WD-40 on each handle. If they have frozen heat up your key with a lighter to melt the ice.


How to prevent skidding

To prevent see advice below:

  • Maintain your tyres to a good standard and ensure they have adequate treads
  • Drive slower in wet, icy or snowy road conditions
  • Slow down well before a turn or bend
  • Ensure you are in the appropriate gear when at a bend or junction
  • NEVER break harshly – If necessary pump the break or depress gently to try and realign
  • Keep a safe distance between cars e.g. General rule is four car lengths for every 10mph, so if travelling at 40mph leave 16 car lengths

Make sure you’re prepared for the winter ahead!

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