MOTORISTS across Devon are being urged to take precautions when driving during frosty and icy conditions.

With winter weather conditions hitting the county, police advise people to make sure car windscreens and mirrors are defrosted.

An Avon and Somerset Police spokesperson said: "Frosty and icy conditions are forecast overnight and for the next few days which means that car windscreens, windows and mirrors are likely to be iced over come morning.

"Learn from this driver who didn’t take the time to defrost their windows before setting off, and whose view of the road was hampered by ice, and a poorly placed SatNav.

"They were reported for driving without due care and attention.

"It’s an offence to not maintain a clear unobstructed windscreen, so please take an extra five minutes to fully defrost your windows in the morning."

Meanwhile, National Highways is offering tips on how to make your journey as smooth and safe as possible.

Here are some pointers as to what to do before you travel to ensure you travel without any hitches:

Plan your route;

Check the availability of service areas along your route;

Make sure you know how to operate your headlights and fog lights;

Check your vehicle;

Pack a winter kit;

Check the weather forecast. If snow or ice is expected, consider delaying your journey until it clears;

Check traffic conditions on the National Highways website and on Twitter;

Pack a winter kit.

It's worth carrying essential winter supplies just in case you need them, especially if there's a forecast for severe weather:




warm clothes;

ice scraper;

fully charged mobile and car charger;




snow shovel;

sunglasses to cope with the low winter sun.

When you're on the road during severe winter weather, when there may be snow and ice around, follow this advice:

Stick to the main roads where you can and only travel if necessary;

Slow down - it can take 10 times longer to stop in icy conditions;

Use a high gear - this will help avoid wheel spin;

Accelerate gently, using low revs. You may need to take off in second gear to avoid skidding;

You may need up to 10 times the normal gap between your car and the car in front;

Try not to brake suddenly – it may lock up your wheels and you could skid further;

Be extra cautious at road junctions where road markings may not be visible;

The Highway Code provides more information about driving in adverse weather conditions.

National Highways traffic officers and control room teams work throughout the year to help keep people moving safely. This is particularly important during periods of cold weather.

What if I break down?

If your vehicle has a problem, or you get into trouble on a motorway, stay calm and try to exit at the next junction or motorway service area.

When the gritters are out.

On motorways, National Highways gritters will usually be salting from the middle lanes, at speeds up to 50mph, but you may also find them salting in any lane when necessary. Where possible message signs will inform you that salt spreading or snowploughing is taking place.

During snow, the gritters will be out on the roads with their snowploughs fitted, and when clearing snow may be found travelling in any lane at speeds between 5 and 40mph.

Help them to help you by giving them time and space to do their job. In particular:

Never tailgate – always leave a sensible distance between you and the gritter;

Pass carefully – only when it’s safe to do so;

Don’t use a hard shoulder – unless it's open for use as indicated by the overhead signs;

Don’t undertake – gritters need to change lanes at junctions;

Reduce your speed and adapt your driving when conditions are severe;

Keep your distance;

You may need up to 10 times the normal gap between your car and the car in front.

Go easy on the accelerator.

Accelerate gently, using low revs. You may need to take off in second gear to avoid skidding.

Take extra care in freezing rain.

In freezing rain, keep your distance and reduce speed – black ice is difficult to see, so even when conditions seem normal, it can be slippery, leading to very dangerous driving conditions.

Watch out for the gritters

Look out for gritters spreading salt or using snow ploughs, and only overtake if it's safe to do so.