winter maintenance 2016/17
Road safety during the winter months is paramount. Motorists should always be aware of the risks they may be taking travelling on icy roads and be prepared accordingly.
Winter Roads Maintenance (gritting and snow clearance)
Gritting gets underway at 6.00am with priority 1 and 2 roads being gritted on every frosty day. The side roads (priority 3) with less traffic will only be treated when conditions, as assessed by the foreman and/or engineer, are considered to be severe. This would include the ploughing of all roads when there is a sufficient depth of snow.
- No treatment will be provided during the evening or overnight.
- Treatment on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays is restricted to main routes only.
- No treatment is carried out on either Christmas Day or New Year's Day.
There is reduced level of gritting on a Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays with only the main routes and loop roads treated between 8.00am and 5.00pm. Key locations such as health centres, care centres etc are still prioritised.
The Council’s approved Winter Maintenance Policy identifies the level of service that is provided in order to “ensure an efficient, effective and proportionate response to winter conditions within an environment of reducing resources.”
The policy has a hierarchy of route treatments ranging from priorities 1 to 4. Road sections are allocated a score based on a range of factors such as traffic flow, bus usage and the presence of commercial premises, schools or transport terminals. The hierarchy score determines the winter service priority appropriate for the length of road. This means that classification is not the sole indicator of a road’s importance.
- Keep your vehicle serviced and in good condition, with sufficient fuel for your journey. Bear in mind that fuel consumption may be increased in adverse conditions
- Check your tyres regularly, ensuring they are correctly inflated. Tyre grip drops off significantly when tread depth falls much below 4mm; less than 2mm tread and grip will be greatly reduced (legal minimum tread 1.6mm). Consideration should be given to fitting winter tyres. Not only do winter tyres have a tread pattern designed for ice and snow, they are made of a material that remains softer and more flexible at low temperatures, giving a much improved grip in cold conditions, including on wet roads.
- Clear your windscreen and all windows fully before starting any journey, and ensure that windscreen washer bottles are topped up with a windscreen solution suitable for winter use.
- Everyone in any vehicle should wear a seatbelt for every journey. No one knows when he or she may be involved in a crash, especially in wintry conditions.
- Look out for ice. Black ice can be a particular danger; it is not readily visible and can persist or recur even after the road surface has been treated with salt. Conditions can change quickly; icy patches are possible on a road that is generally clear of frost. Dawn frosts are quite common; first light with a clear sky will allow heat to radiate quickly from the road surface causing icy patches to form on a wet or damp road.
If in doubt, please slow down.
- Slush or hail on the road can be very slippery and make a vehicle difficult to control. Every year several drivers lose control and crash their cars by driving too fast after a shower of hail or snow.
If you find yourself on a road covered with hail or slush, gently slow down; then slow down further.
In Difficult Conditions
- Do not travel unless it is absolutely necessary. If you must travel always let someone know of your destination and expected time of arrival. Do not depend on a mobile phone - you may get stuck without a signal.
- Be prepared for winter conditions - wear or have with you warm and waterproof clothing and suitable footwear. Carry something to eat and drink, and keep a shovel and a torch in your vehicle.
- If you are caught in a snowdrift, don't leave the vehicle unless you are in sight of a suitable destination - let help come to you. Do not keep your engine running for warmth; there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from exhaust fumes, very few people have died in vehicles from cold.
- If you have to abandon your vehicle, try to leave it out of the path of snowploughs, and advise the Police or the Council where it is at and how you may be contacted.
- In winter conditions, drivers travelling in the evening, overnight or early morning (or on Christmas Day or New Year's Day) should exercise extra care for their own safety and the safety of others, in the knowledge that salting, gritting or snow clearing operations are not normally carried out during those times.
- If you must drive in difficult winter conditions, check out weather forecasts to help you plan your journey. If you require a road condition report, contact:
Roads - Telephone 01595 744866 (office hours, extended during bad snow conditions)
How can I find out more?
Anyone with individual queries can contact the Roads Service directly on 01595 744866.