As temperatures drop, National Highways have confirmed that gritters went out over the past weekend for the first time of this autumn and winter season.

This crucial service saw the National Highways' vehicles treating major routes across the country.

The operation comes on the back of forecasting technology, collaboration with the Met Office and MetDesk, and planning of where and when to treat roads with salt.


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This allows the company, which oversees a 4,500-mile network, to use salt in the most effective locations.

Darren Clark, severe weather resilience manager at National Highways, said: "We manage a huge roads network nationwide – with over 4,500 miles of motorways and A-roads.

"Not all roads will need treating on any given day.

"Gritters may need to go out in some regions if road temperatures fall below +1 degrees C, and if there is a risk of ice forming, but not in other areas if conditions are not as cold."

The firm's transition to autumn and winter operations began on October 1.

The gritting service gets activated when the roads' surface temperature drops below one degrees celsius.

Drivers are reminded of the TRIP acronym for the colder seasons: top-up oil, water and screenwash; rest every two hours; inspect tyres, and prepare for weather conditions.

The National Highways' fleet includes 530 gritter vehicles, with a £44m investment in new Romaquip-Volvo gritters introduced last year.

Each vehicle can transport approximately 12,000 kg of salt or an alternation of 8,400 kg of salt and 3,600 litres of brine.

Motorists are urged to allow gritters sufficient space to carry out their duties effectively and to keep our roads safe during the coming winter months.

Essential advice for drivers includes using a high gear, accelerating gently, allowing ample gap between vehicles, and avoiding sudden brakes.

Mr Clark adds, "As our gritting teams go out more and more to spread salt on the roads this coming autumn and winter season, our message is simple to all road users: Please be patient and give us the time and space to do what we need to do to keep you safe."