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Take extra care on rural roads this winter

West Mercia Police is encouraging motorists to take extra care on rural roads this winter where there is mud on the roads, and reminding farmers and contractors of their legal responsibilities around keeping the highways clear of mud and debris.

mud on road

A particular hazard on rural roads is mud and debris being brought onto the roads from adjacent land. Water running off fields and property will bring mud with it, this will be reduced if land and property owners can do all they can to meet their duty to maintain roadside ditches, along with the drainage systems throughout their property. All traffic exiting gateways to fields, yards and other premises can track mud onto the road. In poor weather, any mud on the carriageway can be easily spread by moving vehicles over a much wider area, this presents a great risk to road safety over the winter period. Excess mud on the road is a danger to cars, motorbikes and cyclists and can change the way a vehicle handles, causing skidding, especially in wet conditions and freezing temperatures.

Under the Highways Act (1980), all have a legal obligation to ensure their vehicles are cleared of any mud or debris before entering the public highway, to ensure mud is not deposited on the highway.

Superintendent Paul Moxley for West Mercia Police comments: "Every year we face problems with mud and debris being left on rural roads, which poses a real danger to anyone using those roads. While the majority of farmers and contractors take steps to ensure they keep the roads clear and safe, not all are as diligent.

"We would like to remind farmers and contractors of their responsibilities under the Highways Act. We have already taken action against offenders who haven't complied with this legislation and will continue to take a tough stance against anyone who we believe is being reckless and irresponsible.

"If you see mud on the roads, please drive with caution and treat this the same way that you would with icy or slippery roads. Slow down, be patient and avoid driving on verges where you can, as this can lead to mud on the road surface."

Anyone wishing to report any issues regarding debris or mud on the road can contact the following agencies:

Worcestershire:

Worcestershire Hub: 01905 765765

Herefordshire:

Balfour Beatty - Living Places: 01432 261 800

Shropshire:

Shropshire Council: 0345 678 9006

Telford & Wrekin:

Telford & Wrekin Council: 01952 384 000 or 01952 384 384 (during office hours)

Published 06/02/19