12.19 AM Wednesday 25 May 2016

Icy weather driving conditions – key messages from Dorset Police

Dorset Police would like to remind motorists that during periods of cold temperatures they should adjust their manner of driving to suit the road conditions.

Inspector Matt Butler, of the Dorset Police Traffic Unit, said: ”Over the past two mornings, Dorset Police has dealt with twenty separate collisions where the indication is that drivers have lost control in icy conditions.

“We have also seen vehicles involved in collisions where drivers have not cleared frost off the windscreens and windows sufficiently.

“I would ask drivers to plan ahead and allow themselves an extra few minutes to defrost their vehicle and then drive a little more slowly to ensure that they arrive safely at their destination.

“Remember many roads, particularly in rural areas, will not be gritted.”

The Highway Code gives advice on driving in icy conditions.

Before you set off:

  • You MUST be able to see, so clear all snow and ice from all your windows.
  • You MUST ensure that lights are clean and number plates are clearly visible and legible.
  • Make sure the mirrors are clear and the windows are demisted thoroughly.


Drive extremely carefully when the roads are icy. Avoid sudden actions as these could cause loss of control. You should:

  • Drive at a slow speed in as high a gear as possible; accelerate and brake very gently.
  • Drive particularly slowly on bends where loss of control is more likely. Brake progressively on the straight before you reach a bend. Having slowed down, steer smoothly round the bend, avoiding sudden actions.
  • Check your grip on the road surface when there is snow or ice by choosing a safe place to brake gently. If the steering feels unresponsive, this may indicate ice and your vehicle losing its grip on the road. When travelling on ice, tyres make virtually no noise.


Advice from our partners

Dorset County Council provids the following information regarding gritting the roads.

How do we decide when to treat the roads?

Decisions about which roads are gritted are based upon the latest forecast of road surface temperatures. Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole Councils have a consolidated approach and operate an 'Ice Prediction and Management System'. A number of strategic highway sensors throughout the county provide accurate 'on the ground' surface and air temperatures. Weather conditions are continually updated and monitored throughout the winter period and officers also alerted to any significant changes to predicted weather patterns. The system then works out the optimum times to grit the highways.

Which roads will be gritted?

With hundreds of kilometres of road in the Bournemouth and Poole area and thousands of kilometres in Dorset, it would be impossible to treat each and every single route. Therefore, road salting is planned according to a network of routes that carry the vast majority of traffic around Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset. These are primarily main roads, commuter routes, some bus routes, roads to the hospital and other emergency service stations.


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