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Inverness
Friday, February 23, 2024

Festive Getaway Advice

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Tens of thousands prepare for Christmas travel  

Preparations are well underway across the trunk road network, at airports, bus depots and railway stations to ensure people can travel safely this festive season.

Operating companies have already started their treatment plans, salt barns are full, and 240 gritters stand ready for deployment at dozens of depots across the country.

The trunk road network will be monitored by Transport Scotland from the National Traffic Control Centre in South Queensferry, along with key partner agencies Police Scotland, SEPA and the Met Office.  

There is currently a Met Office yellow warning for high winds in place for the whole of Scotland, lasting throughout Thursday 21st December.

There is potential for restrictions on bridges as a result of the conditions, especially for high sided vehicles.

Air, ferry and rail travellers could also face delays and cancelations, so passengers should check with their operators ahead of time.

Transport Minister Fiona Hyslop said:  

“As we head toward Christmas and the New Year I want to express my thanks to all of our operating companies, rail teams and everyone working unsociable hours in often treacherous conditions.

“If you are planning a break or visiting loved ones, I would urge you to plan ahead, check Traffic Scotland or local radio for the very latest travel advice, and ensure you have a winter ready kit and supplies at hand for any longer journeys with the family.

“The Traffic Scotland website – www.traffic.gov.scot –  will have up-to-date information on the trunk roads and you can follow Traffic Scotland on Twitter/X for the latest on social media.

“If you are planning to use rail, ferry or air travel, check with your operator for the latest service information.

“Planning your journey will help make sure you reach your destinations in good time, which is especially important for people travelling home for festive celebrations.”

Head of transport resilience (events) at Transport Scotland, Ashleigh Robson said:  

“After a very wet and challenging October and early November, we have settled into a slightly more normal winter.

“However we know conditions can change quickly, and even yellow warnings can be disruptive.

“We may not have seen the worst conditions that winter can bring yet, so it’s good to know that our teams and key partner organisations are ready and prepared should the weather take a turn for the worse over the festive period.

“Seasonal treatment plans for the trunk road network are underway, with our winter teams carrying out patrols and treating roads when necessary.

“As always, we expect the transport network to be busy at this time of year, so I’d urge festive travellers to plan their journey before they set off.

“Leave more time to get to your destination, follow any travel advice from Police Scotland and drive to the conditions.”   

Chief Superintendent Hilary Sloan, Head of Road Policing, said:  

“Planning ahead can save all road users a lot of potential disruption, especially when winter weather can be changeable across Scotland.

“There are steps you can take to help your travel experience this winter, such as checking your tyre tread, tyre pressure and windscreen washer levels.

“It’s your responsibility as a driver to ensure your windows are completely clear before starting your journey.

“Surface water, high winds and ice will affect how you should drive.

“The roads will be particularly busy over the festive period with many of us travelling to see family and friends.

“I would encourage drivers to plan their journey in advance particularly if adverse weather is forecast.

“Please drive to the road conditions and adhere to any travel warnings so you can reach your destination safely.

“It is also important to ensure that your vehicle is roadworthy and ready for driving in winter conditions.

“Ensure that you have enough fuel for your journey and make sure your lights are clean and working properly.”

Dr Tom Broadbent from the Met Office said:  

“Following a very challenging start to the winter, the unsettled weather looks set to continue over the Christmas period, with further frontal systems bringing rain and strong winds to much of Scotland over the weekend.

“Rain will be heaviest in the west and north through the weekend, with any snow most likely confined to the high ground in northern Scotland.

“Remaining windy with showers on Christmas Day, these showers maybe wintry at times in the north but again snow is likely to be restricted to higher ground.

“Uncertainties remain in the details of the forecast so please check the Met Office website and sign up for alerts if you are travelling over the festive period, as things can change very quickly at this time of year”

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