logo WWW.BUCKSCC.GOV.UK

Tips for winter driving

1. Tips for winter driving

As drivers we may need to adapt the way we drive during the winter and be prepared for varied weather, road and traffic conditions.  It's important that you feel confident that you and your vehicle are prepared for winter. 

Here are a few tips on how to stay safe this winter:

  • only travel when absolutely necessary
  • allow more time for your journey
  • slow down and leave increased space between you and the vehicle in front
  • plan your journey

Keep the following in the car:

  • de-icing equipment
  • torch
  • warm clothes
  • blanket
  • spade
  • food and drink
  • high visibility jacket
  • first aid kit
  • hazard warning triangle
  • mobile phone
  • wellington boots

Make sure to check your:

  • tyres are at the correct pressures
  • vehicle lights are clean and working
  • wiper blades are effective
  • battery is in good condition and fully charged
  • vehicle antifreeze is the right concentration (your garage can do this for you)
  • windows and mirrors are clear of ice or condensation
  • You have plenty of fuel

Listen to local radio and traffic reports, they can help with planning your journey.

 

Useful links

RoSPA website
Met Office
Highways England

 

2. Winter driving online module

Our winter driving online module has been designed and developed by road safety officers at Transport for Bucks. The module covers the challenges to road conditions, driver, and car that winter weather can cause.

It only takes around ten minutes to complete.

Start module

 

3. Winter travel advice

Pedestrians and cyclists

The majority of footways are not routinely salted.

In times of prolonged icy weather, or when snow remains on the ground, we may treat major footways, such as main shopping areas.

Before setting out:

  • consider whether your journey is essential
  • always wear appropriate footwear
  • delay your journey if possible to allow temperatures to rise and ice or snow to melt
  • avoid footways in the shade, it takes longer for ice or snow to melt on these

Cycleways will normally be treated in the same way as footways. 

Don’t forget shaded cycleways are likely to remain icy longer than those in the sun.

In prolonged periods of icy weather or when snow remains on the ground, cycleways will be treated in a priority order depending on their use and accessibility.

 

Clearing snow and ice yourself

The Department for Transport (DfT) has published guidance about clearing snow outside:

  • your property
  • pathways to your property
  • public spaces

There is no law stopping you from clearing snow. If an accident does happen, it's highly unlikely that you would be sued as long as you are careful and use common sense.

People using areas affected by snow and ice also have responsibility to be careful themselves. If you are going to remove snow and ice, here are some tips:

  • it's much easier to clear fresh, loose snow compared to compacted ice
  • don’t use hot water - this will melt the snow but may replace it with black ice
  • be a good neighbour - some people may be unable to clear snow and ice on paths from their property
  • think where you are going to put it so that it doesn’t block people’s paths or drainage channels
  • make a pathway down the middle of the area to be cleared first to walk on
  • spreading table or dishwasher salt on the area you have cleared will help stop ice forming
  • avoid spreading on plants or grass
  • pay particular care and attention to steps and steep gradients
  • use the sun to your advantage - removing the top layer of snow will allow the sun to melt any ice beneath.
  • if there's no salt available, sand or ash are good alternatives

 

4. Salt bins

Salt bins are at locations across the county for drivers and pedestrians to treat local areas. They are filled with a 50/50 mix of salt and sharp sand and are for use on the public roads and pavements only.

Salt bins are filled before and during the winter season as priorities allow.

We are able to sell salt bins to private organisations with links to Buckinghamshire County Council, such as:

  • social care properties
  • education locations
  • Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service

We do not plan to replenish roadside salt heaps, as saline run off may harm the local environment.

 

Requests for new bins  

We will consider requests for new salt bins at known trouble spots on the public highway. 

Initial setup costs are £450, this is the same as new salt bins on the public highway. Funding for new salt bins will need to be provided externally.

Private organisation purchases

It may be possible for private organisations to purchase a salt bin, but each request will need to be considered on merit.  

Once installed, we will have no future liability for them beyond the limits of the public highway. It may be possible for Transport for Bucks to restock these bins at a cost of £100 per occasion.

New estate roads

All new salt bin requirements will be assessed.  The developer would need to fund the cost of the new salt bin and salt.