Drivers have been urged to “postpone” planned journeys as the ongoing cold snap brings inclement weather across the UK. With weather warnings in place, safety organisation GEM Motoring Assist has told drivers to delay journeys wherever possible, even if they’re allowed under lockdown rules.

Severe winter weather has already struck much of the nation, with heavy snowfall in many areas. The Met Office has issued yellow weather warnings for parts of England over the coming days, with eastern and northern parts of the UK bearing the brunt of the weather.

GEM says such conditions can be very treacherous for motorists, and claims avoiding travel can help reduce the strain on the emergency services already stretched by the Covid-19 pandemic. And the firm is advising drivers not to travel even if they think the journey counts as essential.

Cars parked on snow covered pavement in Grove Park London

Under current lockdown rules, car journeys are only permitted for essential purposes, including shopping, travelling to medical appointments and commuting where it is impossible to work from home. Drivers can also hit the road to visit support bubbles, helping vulnerable people or volunteering to help the NHS.

But while all those reasons would be justification for drivers to be out and about, GEM says motorists should think twice about making even these trips in severe weather. The company says drivers should not put themselves or others at risk.

“In extreme conditions such as those many of us are experiencing currently, the advice is not to travel,” said GEM Motoring Assist’s chief executive, Neil Worth. “Postpone a journey if you possibly can – even a trip you may regard as essential.

“By doing so you will be avoiding a lot of potential trouble for yourself, and ensuring you don’t put additional strain on emergency and recovery crews, who will be at full stretch in the coming days, even with significantly reduced traffic volumes.

“We understand that you may need to look out for those classed as most vulnerable during the current lockdown, but please don’t put yourself at risk by driving in snow and ice. After all, if you get stuck, you will be of no help to the people you were trying to support, and you may well end up needing emergency assistance yourself.”

RAC recovery van cold weather