A cold weather alert from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has been in place for the east, south east and south west regions of England between January 18 and 26. Further forecasts show that frost and sub-zero temperatures will become more common over the next few days, potentially causing issues for drivers.
Jonathan White, Legal and Compliance Director at National Accident Helpline, has urged drivers to remain calm when driving through adverse conditions.
“With predicted snowfall, blizzards and ice hitting most of the country, and causing a spike in traffic jams, there is a significant chance of an increase in road accidents.
“There will be some icy, untreated patches on the roads, and we urge drivers to take extra care, heed any guidance provided by the authorities and remain vigilant when driving in these conditions.
“Make sure you allow more journey time, slow down, and pay attention to any warnings or signs – particularly on the motorway.
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Before setting off, it is vital that drivers properly clear their windscreen and the rear window to guarantee full vision of the road ahead.
Both windows should be cleared fully, as drivers risk fines for only clearing a small section of the windscreen, known as “portholing”.
When driving without having the full view of the windscreen available, drivers can be fined £60 and receive three penalty points.
They advise road users to be gentle on the throttle, avoiding any harsh acceleration which is likely to cause wheel spin.
While the work from home order has been lifted by the Government, many businesses may still be operating such a scheme.
With more drivers out on the roads, there is a risk that some motorists may find themselves in situations where there is a greater risk of a road accident.
Tina Chander, Head of Employment Law at Wright Hassall, commented: “As a starting point, employees do not have a legal right to be paid if they cannot travel to work due to adverse weather conditions.
“There should always be a policy in place which covers circumstances in which employees are unable to attend work due to adverse weather conditions.
“This way there is no confusion.
“If the employer operates a working from home policy, sometimes referred to as a ‘hybrid working policy’, they may choose to permit their employees to work from home on days where travel is restricted or may pose a health and safety risk to their workforce so that productivity is not reduced.
“Hybrid working can also help to create a more relaxed working environment and provide employees with the opportunity to work from home in times like this.
“It can prevent accidents, safety-related incidents and unnecessary stress for workers.”