Motorists warned to stay alert despite weather warning being lowered again
A yellow “severe” warning of snow and ice remains in place until 11.55pm on Friday for most of Scotland.
Travel routes still face disruption and challenging conditions despite weather warnings being downgraded, according to transport minister Humza Yousaf.
Police Scotland has lowered its advice level to stage two – travel with caution – after there was “minimal disruption” during morning rush hour.
It had been at stage four on Wednesday until Thursday morning, before being reduced to stage three.
However, officers have warned this could be raised again with disruption and delays on the roads still likely.
A Met Office amber alert of snow for the south of Scotland expired at 5am on Thursday while a yellow “severe” warning of snow and ice is in place until 11.55pm on Friday for most of the country.
More than 200 motorists were stranded overnight on the M74 in snowy conditions on Tuesday into Wednesday.
Mr Yousaf thanked members of the public for helping roads teams with the “difficult period” but advised people to monitor travel updates and plan journeys ahead.
He added: “Whilst the amber warning has passed, we still have a yellow warning for snow and ice in place for most of the country through to Friday night.
“According to forecasts, we are going to see further snow showers tonight, overnight and well into Friday.
“There is still a need for motorists to exercise caution on the roads during this period as the weather could well lead to some challenging driving conditions – in particular over higher routes, which may see some heavy snowfall and a higher risk of disruption.
“Motorists will also potentially face significant delays at peak times.”
Most of Scotland covered by Yellow warning for snow & ice.— Humza Yousaf (@HumzaYousaf) January 18, 2018
We're deploying gritters & other resources strategically, higher ground most at risk.
Delays could be likely this evening, overnight and into Friday AM Peak.
Follow @trafficscotland for further details https://t.co/UjYqGYxf41
Police said many people had followed warnings not to travel overnight on Wednesday into Thursday in areas covered by the amber warning.
Chief Superintendent Stewart Carle said road conditions have improved overnight, with less snow falling than expected.
He added: “As a result of this, and motorists heeding our messages and driving to the conditions this morning, we are now able to advise everyone that despite there no longer being a high risk of disruption, there is still a need for all drivers to take extra caution.
“No-one should ever place themselves at risk on the road and there are alternative arrangements you can make such as delaying travel until conditions improve or using public transport.”
All schools in the Borders remain closed on Thursday due to the severe weather while 13 schools and six nurseries in the Highlands are shut.
In South Lanarkshire all schools and nurseries in the Clydesdale area are closed while in North Lanarkshire all prelim examinations scheduled to take place in secondary schools have been postponed.
During the night, temperatures dropped at low as minus 7C (19F) at Loch Glascarnoch while Eskdalemuir in Dumfries and Galloway recorded 36cm of lying snow.
Forecasters have a yellow warning for ice in force on Saturday for northern and western parts of the country until 10am.
Meanwhile, the Scottish Avalanche Information Service has raised the alarm of “considerable” risks for snow slides across of the country’s mountainous areas.