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Snow turns to ice across Yorkshire


9:36am 6th February 2012
(Updated 10:07am 6th February 2012)

North Yorkshire Police have been responding to more than 60 road traffic incidents across the county since the snow hit on Saturday.

Now the snow has turned to ice causing dangerous driving and walking conditions.

The A1M is experiencing some of the worst problems.

Both the south bound and north bound carriageways have been closed in different places because of dozens of jack knifed lorries and abandoned cars.

The A1M south bound is shut between Dishforth and Boroughbridge around Junction 49.

It's also closed between Catterick and Leeming.

The A1M also has huge problems North bound, It's closed from Junction 47 between Boroughbridge and Leeming but it's queuing all the way back to Whetherby.

There are also big delays on the A168 near Thirsk as drivers try and get on the A1.

So if you are traveling take extra care as black ice has formed on many of the roads overnight and the snow has turned to ice.

If you see any problems, give us a call on the Minster FM 01904 48 1234

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How to stay safe at home and on the roads  - Alastair Kight, Managing Director, GRITIT

Alastair Kight, Managing Director of GRITIT, a specialist UK gritting company said:

“We were disappointed to see so many people stranded on the roads last night and many flights cancelled today, particularly given that fact the UK prepared well for winter this year, with local authorities stocking up on salt supplies and ensuring snow clearance equipment was in place.

“However, it is not just down to councils to keep us safe - we can all take personal responsibility for our safety during this cold snap. We work with organisations that plan months in advance to stay open over winter and we can all be proactive. With icy conditions set continue over the next few days, there are some simple ways people can keep safe at home and on the roads.”

Here are my tips:

 1. Talk to your local authority

Contact or check the website of your local council to find out what the local provisions will be for your street and neighbourhood. Understand if your street will be cleared and gritted and plan routes to work or schools accordingly. Also ask about where grit bins will be located in your area.

 2. Clearing pavements? Follow the Snow Code

People have worried if it’s safe to help to clear streets and pavements. Last year the Government sought to reassure people that they could take matters into their own hands without fear of being sued, issuing a Snow Code that advises how to clear snow and ice safely. Here’s a link to the code on the DirectGov site.

 With snow, step one is always to clear snow away before applying grit. When gritting, it’s vital to get the quantity of grit right – too little won’t work effectively and too much will cost you in wasted salt (the Snow Code suggests quantities). Be very careful around the edge of paths not to scatter grit on lawns or flowerbeds to avoid damaging plants!

 3. Prepare your home

One of the great tragedies is that it extreme weather can be a killer – the BBC reported that around 27,000 extra people die every winter - a fifth more than during the summer.

Rising fuel prices don’t help, but while the UK has one of the highest rates of deaths due to cold weather, we also pay less for fuel than many other countries. A big challenge is that – unlike a country like Sweden – our houses aren’t built for cold weather. Despite this, there is a lot that can be achieved through better insulation.

 Advice for Motorists

Research shows that almost half of road users continue to take journeys, despite poor weather forecasts. Always check weather forecasts before setting out and consider if this trip is really necessary. If you must travel, take responsibility and be prepared. It’s worth remembering that motoring rescue organisations experience a 50-90 % rise in calls outs during snowy conditions so the chances of help reaching you are much lower.

 1. Prepare your vehicle

Before the bad weather hits, check your car’s supply of anti-freeze, and that the battery is in good order – older batteries can struggle in bad weather. Take time to pack your car with emergency essentials such as first aid kit, torch, a shovel, snacks and water, warm clothing/blankets and a towrope. The Highways Agency offers a comprehensive guide to how to prepare for tough conditions on the roads, which includes details around checking and servicing your vehicle, having an emergency kit at hand, and journey planning.

 2. Winter tyres

If you travel a lot in remote areas where roads are unlikely to be cleared frequently, you may consider switching to winter tyres that offer better grip on slippery roads. While these aren’t widely used in the UK, many countries that regularly face extreme winter weather make switching tyres for winter mandatory. The AA offers advice on how these can help and what you need to know about tyres, from winter tyres to snow chains, and insurance implications.

 3. Last minute checks

Immediately before setting off, make sure to check forecasts and take note of any weather warnings affecting your route. Ensure you have at least a quarter of a tank of fuel in case conditions extend your journey time.

4. Safe drives begin with safe drives

Last winter, then Transport minister Philip Hammond advised that households should have access to grit supplies to help dig out their cars. Keep a supply of grit or sand ready to help make sure you can get off your driveway.

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