Somerset County Council’s road safety team has issued a batch of helpful advice to keep motorists safe on the roads this winter.

Heavy rain, high winds, ice, snow, and shorter daylight hours make travelling over the winter months a challenging experience.

The council says it is important for road users to realise that road conditions can change quickly, and that changing your driving or riding with them makes a difference.

“Preparation is important; check the weather forecast and make sure you leave extra time for your journey if road conditions are poor,” says a spokesman.

“Motorists are also urged to be aware of the Council’s precautionary gritting network this winter – these are the roads routinely treated whenever road surface temperatures are forecast to drop below 1°C. You can check which roads are included by visiting www.travelsomerset.co.uk/gritting.”

“Keeping your vehicle in good condition is essential as no-one wants to be breaking down at the side of the road on a dark and stormy night. Reduce the chance of this with some simple maintenance; check lights, tyres and engine fluids every week, and make sure you have enough fuel for your journey before you set off.”

“Consider keeping an emergency kit in the boot of your vehicle; it could prove invaluable should the worst occur. Suggested contents include a Blanket, Bottle of water, First aid kit, Hi-vis jacket, Jump leads, Shovel, Torch, Warm clothes, Wellington boots.”

“The road safety team has the following tips to help keep you safe on the roads over the winter months: Avoid distractions and look out for other road users, particularly vulnerable road users such as motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians; Completely de-ice/mist the windows of your vehicle before driving off; Increase the distance between your vehicle and the one in front – stopping distances can be 10 times longer in icy conditions; Remember that not all roads are gritted. Take extra care when travelling on untreated roads and be aware that ice can still form on roads that have been treated; and Use your lights.”