Press release

Festive safety advice at services from North West traffic officers

Highways England traffic officers will be out and about at motorway service stations this weekend giving out winter driving advice at the start of the big holiday getaway.

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Operation Engage will see traffic officers across the region parking up at motorway services and chatting to drivers about travelling in bad weather, planning journeys over Christmas, and checking vehicles before driving long distances in winter.

Highways England traffic officers in the North West, who operate from 7 outstations in Cheshire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Cumbria, will also be encouraging drivers of left hand drive lorries to fit Fresnel lenses to cab mirrors to help reduce so-called ‘side-swipe’ collisions with other vehicles. And they’ll be raising awareness of safety issues around driving through road works with large schemes like the Manchester Smart Motorway project on local doorsteps.

John McTaggart, head of Highways England’s on road operations, said:

Operation Engage this weekend will give the public a chance to learn more about our traffic officers, and speak to them generally about safer driving on the motorway. Obviously, at the start of the festive period it’s also a great time to come and chat to us about driving in winter and preparing for Christmas journeys.

This weekend’s service station visits will take place on Saturday and Sunday (19 and 20 December). Traffic officers will park up at strategic points within service areas and will be free to chat to anyone who stops by. This will also allow them to still attend incidents if necessary.

Highways England works closely with the Met Office to ensure it is ready for winter, whatever the weather. Full severe weather plans are in place around the country for snow, hail and ice, as well as heavy rain, flooding and high winds.

John said:

Many people will be hitting the roads this weekend and early next week and for some it will be their longest journey of the year. We are urging people to plan their journeys carefully.

That means making sure your car is mechanically fit and fully-fuelled but also that you are prepared in case of being stuck behind incidents or in bad weather by taking a bit of food and water and some warm clothing. Planning journeys also means checking weather and traffic conditions before setting out and being prepared to alter journey plans if there is an incident or bad weather.

Drivers can check travel conditions before setting out on journeys. Highways England provides live traffic information via its website, local and national radio travel bulletins, electronic road signs and mobile platforms, such as the iPhone. Information is also available from Twitter with regional feeds such as @highwaysNWEST for this region.

Providing they can do so safely, road users can also call the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000 to keep up to date with road conditions.

More details on staying safe on the roads this winter are available on the Met Office website.

General enquiries

Members of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.

Media enquiries

Journalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.

Published 18 December 2015