Snow and ice risk to drivers

DEVON residents are being advised to avoid unnecessary travel overnight tonight (Thursday) because of the risk of ice and snow.

Road surface temperatures are expected to drop below freezing early this evening, falling to -5C overnight and Devon County Council’s gritters are treating around 2,000 miles of the county’s main and secondary roads from around 3pm, and again at 4:30pm as there is a possibility of black ice following today’s rain.

The fleet of gritters will go out again at 4:30am tomorrow morning to keep routes as clear as possible.

The Highways Agency’s fleet of gritters will also be out treating 170 miles of the strategic road network in the county. The agency also has snow ploughs ready to deal with any significant accumulations.

Snow is forecast late this evening and overnight, moving in from the north of the county. There is a chance of widespread snow across the whole county, possibly measuring up to 10cm in some higher areas.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said: “Rain, followed by freezing temperatures, make it highly likely that there may be widespread icy roads across Devon, even on routes that have been salted. We are as prepared as we can be and our teams of gritters will be working hard to keep our highway network as clear as possible, but drivers must take extreme care. Conditions may well be treacherous, particularly on roads which haven’t been treated, and travellers are well advised to avoid overnight travel in the county.”

The Haldon Response Plan for Haldon Hill near Exeter has not been formally activated, but Devon County Council, Highways Agency and Devon and Cornwall Police are on a heightened state of alert to respond if conditions worsen and the situation will be closely monitored from control rooms.

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Schools across the county have also been alerted to the possibility of snow and schools can keep up to date with any closures by logging on to

Motorists are reminded of the following advice:

* Avoid overnight travel unless absolutely essential as roads will always be more hazardous at night with less traffic and colder temperatures;

* Never assume a road has been salted. Remember that showers or rain will wash salt off roads leaving them prone to ice, and in extreme cold even salting will not stop ice from forming;

* Allow additional time for your journey and reduce your speed;

* Drive with care and according to the conditions;

* If you have vulnerable or elderly neighbours, think about how they could possibly be helped through the cold spell;

* Listen to local radio for updates on current weather conditions.

For more information and travel advice visit:

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