• Car skidded backwards along M61 hitting barrier and stationary vehicle
  • Highways England traffic officer jumped over barrier to avoid being hit
  • Drivers urged to drive to the conditions in sleet, snow and ice

The red Nissan Micra was travelling along the southbound carriageway in sleet when the driver lost control of the vehicle and it skidded backwards, hitting the central reservation barrier and a stationary Highways England vehicle.

Traffic officer Nigel Gorton was dealing with an earlier incident on the motorway when he had to jump over the barrier to avoid being struck by the car. Both Nigel and the car driver avoided serious injuries in the collision. The footage is available here: https://youtu.be/UnzpPVSMzDE.

The incident happened in March last year and was filmed by the onboard CCTV camera in the traffic officer vehicle.

The footage has been released by Highways England as a warning to drivers after the Met Office issued new yellow warnings for snow and ice across the midlands and north from 10pm tonight (Wednesday) until midday tomorrow (Thursday).

Nigel, who is a team manager at Highways England’s Samlesbury depot near Preston, said:

“We’d had a report of a collision on the M61 so I’d been dealing with that when I spotted the car skidding out of control towards me.

“Luckily, I was able to jump over the barrier in time but a few minutes earlier I’d been getting cones and warning signs out of my car boot, so I dread to think what would have happened if I’d still been there.

“I’d definitely urge motorists to make sure they drive to the conditions as it takes a lot longer to stop in when the roads are icy, and any sudden manoeuvres can lead to you losing control of your vehicle.”

Highways England’s gritting teams will be working around the clock to treat roads and keep them free from disruption whenever ice or snow is forecast.

Drivers are being warned to drive to the conditions as it can still be slippery if ice patches have formed, or where fresh salt has not been worked into the carriageway. They are also being encouraged to have a snow kit in their vehicles, including warm clothes and blankets, food and water.

Highways England has issued five tips for driving in sleet, snow and ice to help drivers travelling in severe weather:

  • Take care around gritters and don’t be tempted to overtake.
  • Slow down as it can take 10 times longer to stop in icy conditions.
  • Use a higher gear as this will help to avoid wheel spin.
  • Avoid harsh braking to reduce the risk of your vehicle skidding.
  • Use gentle manoeuvres and ease off the accelerator if you start to skid.

Highways England is also advising drivers to follow messages on the overhead electronic signs and to listen for radio updates in severe weather.

Further information can be found by visiting www.trafficengland.com, following Highways England’s regional Twitter feeds or calling the Highways England Information Line on 0300 123 5000.