Winter Road Safety

Winter is coming, which means changes in road conditions, daylight hours and unpredictable weather. Pedestrians, cyclists and drivers all have a responsibility to keep Scotland’s roads safe this winter.

Here you can find advice on how to stay safe this winter whether you are travelling on foot, by cycle or car.


Advice for pedestrians

  • Dress appropriately for the weather. Consider wearing reflective or bright-coloured clothing so other road users are able to see you when it’s dark or visibility is poor.
  • If walking home, particularly late at night, make sure someone knows when you are expected to arrive at your destination.
  • Take extra care when crossing the road. Vehicles can take up to ten times longer to stop on slippery road surfaces. If possible, 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.
  • Be careful when stepping out between parked vehicles and never cross behind a bus. If a clear place can’t be found and you cross between parked vehicles, make sure there are no drivers in them in case they suddenly pull out or reverse.
  • If there is no pavement, walk in single file and keep to the right hand side of the road so you can see oncoming traffic.

Advice for cyclists

  • Ensure that you and your bike are visible to other road users by using 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.
  • Obey road signs and markings, particularly red lights. Do not cycle on the pavements, which may be slippery and can also endanger pedestrians.
  • Be mindful of the effects poor weather can have on other road users and be alert to possible dangers around about you. Cars can take twice as long to stop in wet weather and braking can be unpredictable in ice and snow.

Advice for drivers

  • Ensure your car is winter ready – are your tyres, brakes, windscreens, wiper blades and windows free from defects and clean?
  • Drive to the road conditions. Be aware road conditions can change without warning and remember stopping distances will be affected by the weather.
  • Make sure your windows are clean, properly demisted and clear of snow and ice before you drive.
  • When the roads are icy, drive at a slow speed in as high a gear as possible, and accelerate and brake very gently.
  • Driving can be challenging in winter conditions. Driving distracted (by using mobile phones or devices) can cause additional stress and endangers yourself, passengers and other road users.