With you, making Surrey safer


Police Man with school children

Drive SMART is a partnership between Surrey Police and Surrey County Council (including Surrey Fire and Rescue Service), with the aim of reducing road casualties, tackling anti-social driving and making the county's roads safer and less stressful for everyone. Visit www.drivesmartsurrey.org.ukLink to an external website for more Drive SMART information.    

Road accidents are the main cause of accidental death in the UK, but taking some simple precautions can help to keep you safe. 

Vehicle condition

It's the driver's legal responsibility to ensure that the vehicle they are driving is roadworthy and the driver would receive a fine and points on their licence if the vehicle had a defect. Regular checks should include fuel, lights, fluid levels, tyres and windscreen wipers. It's a good idea to carry spare bulbs and keep light lenses clean.

The area of tyre that is in contact with the road surface is about the size of a CD case, so it’s important that you check your tyres on a regular basis. Most tyres are now fitted with tread wear indicators that show how low that tread depth is.  The legal minimum tread depth for a car is 1.6mm across the centre three-quarters of the tyre, around the whole circumference.  In winter it is recommended that you have at least 3mm of tread depth to deal with weather conditions and to reduce aquaplaning.  The less tread on the tyre, the less grip on the road and the longer the stopping distance becomes.  Don’t forget to check the spare wheel at the same time.

Driving in adverse weather

  • Check the weather forecast and road conditions before you travel. Visit www.metoffice.gov.ukLink to an external website and www.highways.gov.ukLink to an external website. Follow @SurreyTravelLink to an external website on Twitter for an overview of travel in the county.
  • Before you set off In icy/snowy conditions, make sure you have enough fuel, carry warm clothing, a blanket, spade, food, water, a charged mobile phone and a torch.  De-ice windows and remove snow from your vehicle’s roof and lights. Make sure the battery is fully charged.
  • Select second gear to pull away, choose a lower gear going downhill and avoid braking too sharply.
  • Make sure someone knows when you are leaving and when you aim to arrive. Allow extra time for your journey, take it carefully and be patient.
  • Reduce your speed and increase the distance between you and the vehicle in front.  If you start to skid, ease off the accelerator but never brake suddenly.
  • Use dipped headlights if visibility is poor and use your rear fog lights if visibility falls below 100 metres.  Don’t forget to turn them off if there is a vehicle directly behind you.
  • If you find yourself stranded in your car please keep calm. Check where you are and note any identifying features e.g. a tree is not a unique enough landmark. Call the police on 101 and family/friends to let them know the situation. Keep warm and dry and run your engine for 10 minutes every hour to keep warm, unless the exhaust is blocked by snow. If it is blocked, switch off the engine and clear the blockage. Unless you know where you are and there are houses nearby, remain with your car and wait for help. If you must leave your car, leave a note inside your vehicle saying where you have gone and when. Also leave your name and contact numbers.

Drinking & driving

Even the smallest amount of alcohol can affect a driver's skills without them realising. Everyone is different so it’s best not to have any at all if you are driving; or to make alternative travel arrangements.

If you suspect someone may be planning to drink and drive, please call us on 101 with as many details as you can (name; make, colour and registration of car; location). You could save their life, and perhaps someone else's.


40mph might not seem very much when sitting behind the wheel, but it will take 36m/120ft to come to a standstill. Always keep your stopping distances in mind.

Abnormal Loads:

How do I get a permit to move an abnormal load across Surrey and/or Sussex? Permits will be issued for all movements which are authorised by Surrey and Sussex Police with the exception of loads which are only transiting the force areas via the M3 and/or M25 motorways. However, these loads must adhere to the following criteria:

  • No deviation from the route (i.e. The Motorway namely M3 and M25)
  • A copy of the notification to be carried by the driver
  • Load to be properly secured including hydraulic arms
  • No movement from 1200hrs on a Friday preceding a Bank Holiday weekend until 2200hrs on the following Monday
  • Haulier must ensure the route is suitable and approved by other authorities where required
  • Escort vehicle markings and equipment must comply with codes of practice
  • The extremities of the load must be clearly marked with approved marker boards - and if visibility is reduced these must be illuminated, and also during the hours of darkness
  • Loads up to 4.3m wide and up to 130 tonnes: unrestricted access 24 hrs per day and no escorting is required providing that a minimum speed of 30 mph can be maintained on level ground
  • Loads exceeding 4.3m wide or 130 tonnes: self escorting is required
  • Loads exceeding 4.6m wide or 150 tonnes: not permitted during the hours of 07:30 to 09:00 and 16:30 to 18:30 Monday to Friday.  Loads to lay up at suitable rest areas Fleet / Cobham / Clacket.
  • Loads exceeding 5m wide or 150 tonnes & Loads unable to maintain 30 mph on level ground: by agreement with the Surrey & Sussex Abnormal Load Office only.

General conditions for non-motorway movements:

  • No night time movements (i.e. during lighting up time)
  • No peak time movements (i.e. during the hours of 07:30 to 09:00 and 16:30 to 18:30 Monday to Friday)
  • Self Escorting: Dual Carriageways for 4.1m wide; Single carriageways generally 3.6m wide; NB: on some roads all loads require self escorting
  • Escort vehicles as per motorway
  • Load to be properly secured
  • No deviation from route 

Should you have any queries related to the above conditions or the movement of loads on the road network in Surrey and Sussex do not hesitate to contact the Surrey & Sussex Abnormal Load Office on 01273 404187 Monday to Friday from 09:00 to 12:00.

More useful road safety advice:

www.rospa.comLink to an external website
www.theaa.comLink to an external website
www.rac.co.ukLink to an external website
www.surreycc.gov.uk/roads-and-transport/road-safetyLink to an external website