Bulgaria is facing a true beginning of winter in mid-November, with forecasts of sharply dropping temperatures and the possibility of snowfalls, promoting the Road Infrastructure Agency to urge motorists to fit winter tyres to their cars.
On the weekend of November 17 and 18, it is possible that rain will give way to snow in the high mountain regions. Some forecasts predicted light snowfalls even in Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia in the first half of next week.
Road Infrastructure Agency head Svetoslav Glosov has ordered that winter maintenance of Bulgaria’s national road network go into operation as of November 13.
The agency urged motorists to fit winter tyres to their vehicles. Bulgarian law does not require winter tyres as such, but only a minimum tread depth on tyres. At the same time, traffic police already have begun a campaign to check the readiness of cars for winter, including through on-the-spot checks of tread depth on tyres.
According to Bulgarian authorities, about 3000 snow-cleaning machines will be on standby to deal with conditions on national roads.
Bulgaria’s 27 district road administrations have been ordered to monitor road conditions, including for icing and slipperiness on roads.
The road agency urged motorists to drive with caution, at reasonable speeds, to maintain an appropriate following distance between vehicles and not to make sharp manouevres.
Winter road conditions are a particular concern in Bulgaria, the EU country with the bloc’s second-highest rate of road fatalities. Deaths on the road besides, harsh winter conditions frequently motorists being stranded, having ignored appeals not to embark on journeys unless they have, as basic precautions, proper tyres, snow chains, sufficient fuel and properly charged mobile phones to alert authorities that they have got themselves into difficulties.