Getting about safely in winter
Winter weather conditions and the busy festive period can mean travelling and getting about takes a little more time, and more care is required to avoid hazards. Here are some tips to help keep you safe.
Plan and prepare for your journey
Allow plenty of time to get to your destination and prepare for your journey as best you can by checking for travel updates or weather warnings before you set off. In severe weather, consider whether your journey is absolutely necessary.
You can find general winter travel advice from Transport for Greater Manchester here.
If you are driving, The Highways Agency website and Twitter feeds - @winterhighways and @HAChristmas over the festive period - will help you prepare for your journey with timely reminders and traffic updates. There are also regional feeds for live traffic information.
If you are using public transport, the Metrolink and National Rail Enquiries websites will help you plan by giving you regular updates on how services are running. Any significant disruption will be flagged up on the TfGM website and Twitter feed as well.
Out and about
With more people out and about and increased traffic in town and city centres, additional care should be taken to avoid hazards and keep safe during the busy festive period and winter months.
When crossing roads and tram lines on foot or on bike, use pedestrian crossings wherever possible and always try to follow the tried and tested "stop, look and listen" approach.
Accidents involving pedestrians or cyclists can be, in part, down to drivers not seeing them, so consider wearing bright or fluorescent clothing or a reflective armband, particularly while the daylight hours are shorter and weather conditions make visibility poorer.
Take extra care where trams run through pedestrian areas or on roads. In some areas of Manchester city centre, trams can approach you from more than one direction so always observe the tramway signs, keep an eye out for tramlines underfoot, listen out for the 'toot' of a tram, always give way and always give trams a wide berth, especially on bends and corners.
Be careful when crossing after a tram has passed. Do not cross the track until you are sure that there is not another tram passing in the opposite direction.
Avoid walking or cycling directly on top of the rails, particularly if they are wet as they can be slippery. It is safest to cross the rails at right angles.
Walking in winter requires special attention. Even if snow and ice has been cleared or gritted, surfaces can still be slippery. So always try to:
Wear shoes or boots that grip the snow and ice; avoid plastic and leather soles.
Take extra care when boarding and leaving buses, trains and trams; use the handles on the vehicle for support.
Use designated walkways as much as possible, as they will be prioritised for clearance and gritting during extreme cold weather. Taking shortcuts where snow and ice has not been cleared can be hazardous. Bus stations and Metrolink tramstops will be cleared of snow and gritted when it's icy.
If you have no option but to walk on ice, take short steps for stability.
As always, drive carefully, keep to speed limits, follow the Highway Code, and pay particular attention to pedestrians and children when driving in busy town and city centres and near schools.
When driving where tram lines run along the road, avoid driving directly on top of the rails, particularly if they are wet as they can be slippery. It is safest to cross the rails at right angles.
Prepare for wintry weather by making sure windscreens are clean, that windscreen washers are full and that wipers work.
Remember that you could face a fine if your vision is obscured. Make sure your lights are clean and, ideally, check the bulbs.
Ensure your tyres are correctly inflated and replace them before the tread has reached the legal minimum.
Clean any snow and ice from all windows, lights and number plates. Make sure you can see clearly and can be seen clearly.
Clear any snow from the roof of your car as well, as this can fall onto the windscreen and obscure your vision mid-journey - but it can also present a hazard to pedestrians and other road users if it falls of your car when travelling at speed.
For more advice on driving in winter, visit the The Highways Agency website.