BRACE yourself – winter is coming.

Final preparations are being made to Worcestershire County Council’s fleet of gritting vehicles, which will go on standby on Tuesday, October 15.

Depots across the county have been stoked up with 13,000 tonnes of salt ready to spread on 1,500 miles of highway and teams are checking all the 1,233 grit bins have been filled.

Last year was the busiest ever for the teams, who drove 62,149 miles – the equivalent to travelling along the equator two and a half times – over the winter months.

The council’s cabinet member for highways and transport Coun John Smith OBE said: "It's always amazing just how quickly this time of year seems to come around.

"It was great to see so many messages of support coming through for the teams when freezing conditions were at the worst in January and February.

“I know that meant a lot and helped keep them going through the nights, whilst we were all tucked up in our beds.

“We all appreciate their efforts and, once again, I'm sure they'll be very much up to the challenge of facing whatever the season has in store.”

But he added grit should not be considered a ‘miracle’ fix.

“Even when roads have been treated it's never safe to assume you can travel at normal speeds during adverse weather,” he said.

“The message is still the same – take care on the roads when temperatures drop."

All the council’s vehicles are fitted with technology which treats salt with brine solution before it is placed on roads, helping it work quicker and reducing waste.

Interactive maps will be available at where residents will be able to find their nearest grit bin and quickly report problems at the county council’s twitter account @worcscc will provide live updates on gritting.