Winter road safety
Road safety advice for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers in winter conditions.
On this page:
Winter means changes in the roads, shorter days and changing weather.
We all have a responsibility to keep Scotland’s roads safe during the winter months.
Advice if you are out walking during winter:
- Dress for the weather by wearing reflective or bright-coloured clothing so other road users can see you when it's dark or visibility is poor
- If you are walking home late at night, make sure someone knows where you're going and when
- Vehicles can take up to ten times longer to stop on slippery road surfaces so take extra care crossing the road
- Stick to pedestrian crossings
- If there are no crossings nearby, find a place with a clear view and wait for long gaps in the traffic before crossing the road
- Don't cross the road between parked vehicles, unless it can't be avoided then take extra care (look out for vehicles that suddenly pull out or reverse)
- Never cross the road behind a bus
- If there is no pavement, keep to the right hand side of the road so you can see traffic coming towards you.
Advice to consider if you are cycling during winter:
- Make sure your bike can be seen by people on the road
- Use a good set of front and rear lights (white at the front, red at the back)
- Wear clothes that help you be seen on your bike, such as bright and light reflective items
- Pay attention to road signs, markings and particularly red lights
- Do not cycle on the pavements, they may be slippery and can also endanger pedestrians
- Be mindful of the effects poor weather can have on other road users
- Make sure you know about the dangers around you
- Cars can take twice as long to stop in wet weather
- Braking can be unpredictable in ice and snow.
Advice for drivers during winter:
- Make sure your car is ready for winter
- Check that your tyres, brakes, windscreens, wiper blades and windows are free from defects and clean
- Drive to the road conditions. Road conditions can change without warning, stopping distances will be affected by the weather
- Make sure your windows are clean and aren't misted up
- Make sure there is no snow and ice on your windows before you drive
- When the roads are icy, drive at a slow speed in a high gear
- Accelerate and brake very gently
- Driving distracted (for example, using a Sat Nav) can cause additional stress. It is dangerous to yourself, passengers and other road users.
Road Safety Scotland have wide range of resources for all road users
Cycling Scotland have various resources for cyclists
Living Streets provide expert support and advice to pedestrians.