If you are planning a festive getaway make sure your vehicle is winter ready as organisations such as Police Scotland, Traffic Scotland, the Met Office and SEPA help to keep the Caithness and the rest of the country moving over Christmas and the New Year
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Drivers in the Highlands and the rest of Scotland are being reminded to make sure their vehicles are winter ready as preparations are carried out to keep Scotland moving this festive season.
Winter treatment plans are already well underway across the trunk road network, salt barns are well stocked and more than 230 gritters are ready for deployment from over 40 depots across the country.
The trunk road network will be monitored by Traffic Scotland from the National Traffic Control Centre in South Queensferry, along with key partner agencies Police Scotland and the Met Office.
Minister for Transport Graeme Dey said: “We’ve already had our first real taste of winter with Storms Arwen and Barra, which were a stark reminder of the importance of being prepared for the type of conditions you can face at this time of year.
“We expect the network to be a bit busier over the festive period, so our winter teams are ready and prepared for when the weather takes a turn for the worse. Seasonal treatment plans have been in place for several weeks now, with patrols and road treatments being carried out when necessary.
“However, it’s also important that travellers continue to play their part – if you’re driving, make sure your vehicle is prepared, plan your journey before you set off and follow any Police Scotland travel advice that may be in place.
“This advice rings true for other modes of transport as well. If you’re travelling by rail, ferry or air, make sure you stay in contact with your operator to see how your service might be affected.
“Due to the changing position with the Covid pandemic it is vitally important people stay up to date and follow the latest advice on safe travel. When using public transport people should be prepared in advance and bring a face covering to wear on services, on platforms and in stations.
“Planning your journey will help make sure you reach your destinations in good time, which is especially important for people travelling for festive celebrations.”
Chief Superintendent Louise Blakelock, head of road policing at Police Scotland, said: "The winter period has the potential to cause some disruption and weather conditions can often change quickly, so it is important to ensure that you and your vehicle are fit for the road.
"Before setting off on your journey ensure your vehicle is in good condition, check the weather forecast so you can plan ahead and allow extra time if needed. Transport Scotland, the Met Office and SEPA websites and social media channels have valuable information about weather warnings, travel advice and disruptions on the road. Please follow this travel advice to keep yourself and others safe.
"During this festive season we are urging drivers not to drink or take drugs and drive, plan your journeys so you are not tempted to get behind the wheel. Also think about the impact alcohol can still have the morning after and help us keep everyone safe on our roads."
Deputy chief meteorologist Helen Caughey said: “After a relatively benign start to the week, the forecast turns more unsettled and finely balanced as we approach Christmas. With colder air meeting milder air over the UK, the specific details of the forecast for Christmas Day are still a little uncertain.
“Milder air moves northeast over much of the country by the middle of the week, with spells of rain for most at times, which will turn to snow over higher ground in northern Scotland initially.
"The boundary between the milder and colder air is then forecast to sink south later on Christmas Eve and through Christmas Day, introducing colder, clearer conditions for some.
"However exactly where this boundary gets to is hard to pin down at the moment, and is key as to where can expect any snow over Christmas, so keep up to date with the forecast for the latest information as we move through the week.”