Winter upgrades: New weather station rollout for safer driving

Car driving up snow-covered residential road in London

Winter woes got you rethinking your festive road trip? National Highways have got you covered for a safer commute over the holiday season.

The agency is investing £15.4 million in new state-of-the-art weather stations, which will provide real-time data on road conditions in the UK.

With these installed, they can react more quickly to adverse weather and alert Brits of impending driving hazards.

Funding a safer commute for UK drivers

National Highways, in partnership with environmental measurement solutions company Vaisala, plans to upgrade 125 weather stations by 2025.

They also intend to add 100 more stations to roads between 2025 and 2030.

As well as new stations, funds will go towards 530 gritters, 280,000 tonnes of salt and 128 depots across the network.

Upgrading the current weather stations is due as some are 25 years old and there is new and improved technology to take advantage of.

Darren Clark, Severe Weather Resilience Manager at National Highways said: “Our investment in upgrading our weather stations is just the latest way we are developing our weather forecasting capability.

“We are ready for the winter season and will be out and about day or night when the roads need salting. We have the people, systems and technology in place to know where and when to grit and will be working to keep people moving safely on our roads whatever weather conditions we get.”

How do the weather stations work?

The new weather stations come equipped with atmospheric sensors and road sensors cabled from the station to the road.

This means they can measure snow and ice, fog visibility, high winds, flooding, air temperature, humidity and precipitation – which can all be issues when driving.

Each station will read weather conditions for a particular road, and then submit data to National Highways’ Severe Weather Information Service. From here, control rooms across the country will be informed and prompted to act as necessary.

The first of the weather stations was introduced on the A56 near Accrington in late October, and we can expect more to be installed in the coming months.

Want to ensure safer travel this festive season? Get winter ready with 5 tips for cold-weather driving.

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