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Snow Warning Sign

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A modern warning to turn around in action on the A62
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Snow Warning Signs are used in areas prone to snow and ice blockages. One of the biggest users of such signs are the local authorities in the Pennines, notably Oldham, Calderdale and Kirklees, who both operate an extensive system of such signs. There are varying degrees of sophistication to these signs, and they are all manually operated - a highway official has to use a key to activate the warning lights. This means that the effectiveness of such signs is reduced as the operator has to be able to get to the sign to activate it, which is a problem if the road in question is blocked by snow.

Despite the legend "road closed", such a closure is purely advisory as it is not implemented by the Police or by means of an emergency traffic regulation order. This is a marked contrast to the Police operated snow gates in the highlands of Scotland, where roads can be closed with legal backing for days at a time due to treacherous driving conditions.

There is no provision in the TSRGD for snow warning signs and the use of flashing lights to denote road closures is not strictly prescribed, so many of them are designed as temporary signs using either red, blue, or yellow backgrounds. This negates the need for time consuming sign authorisations especially as each individual sign unit would require a specific approval from the Department for Transport.

Other local authorities in snow-prone areas use warning signs which simply state that snow is not cleared by ploughs on the road in question, and leave it at that. A fold-out Road Closed sign may be used in addition if the road condition is particularly poor. A popular method of advising motorists to stay clear of a road is using a "Winter conditions can be dangerous" sign. These can be seen on the Burway Road in Church Stretton, and on other mountain passes such as the Hardknott and Wrynose passes in the Lake District.

Some coastal regions use the same signs to close roads when waves are being blown across them.

Snow Warning Sign
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