Wintry showers are expected to sweep the country this weekend, bringing up to four inches of snow.
The Met Office has issued a yellow warning of severe weather for southern England and much of Yorkshire for today, which extends further north tomorrow.
During the next few days, temperatures are expected to drop to -6C in some places, with parts of north Wales, north east England and Scotland among the chilliest.
John Lee, a forecaster with Meteogroup, said: “It will be very cold over the weekend and will be staying cold into next week, with temperatures quite widely not getting above 4C during the day.”
With Yorkshire braced for the cold snap, river and ground water levels in Ryedale have fallen to nearly normal levels after a reduction in rainfall, prompting the Silver Command emergency task force to step down.
But forecasters have said that the cold conditions are likely to bring widespread ice.
Andy Smith, AA patrol of the year, said: “The next few days could be a bit of a sharp wake-up call for drivers who aren’t adequately prepared.
“It’s just not worth taking a gamble and it’s no effort to put a few extra warm layers and other winter essentials in the car.”
Drivers are advised to keep an atlas, food and a warm drink in their cars in case of emergencies.
Full forecast: Page 18.