Top tips on how to prepare for driving in cold weather have been released as Essex Highways prepares for the winter season.
Essex Highways has a full fleet of 62 gritting lorries and two mini-gritters ready to salt 2,000 miles of roads across Essex in less than three hours, if required, when the winter highways season officially begins on 23 October.
15,500 tonnes of salt are already in stock, with plans in place to restock throughout the winter if needed.
Drivers in Essex have been given seven top tips to stay safe on the roads this winter. These include:
- Check live traffic and road closures before leaving the house by visiting www.essex.gov.uk/traffic or follow @Essex_Travel on Twitter.
- Check when gritters will be out on roads in Essex by following @EssexHighways on Twitter for daily updates.
- Check where they will be by tracking our gritters – including Gritney Spears, the Ice Exterminator and Alexander the Grit – in real-time at www.essex.gov.uk/gritters.
- Report issues on Essex roads quickly and simply by visiting www.essex.gov.uk/highways.
- Try to avoid unnecessary travel shortly before and during forecast snow showers as heavy traffic prevents gritting lorries and snow ploughs from doing their job effectively.
- Allow extra time for your journey, be patient and keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front during icy conditions.
- Make sure the following items are in your car to help throughout the winter: ice scraper, de-icer, a torch, warm clothes, a blanket, a shovel, a first aid kit, a high-visibility jacket as well as food and drink.
Cllr Ian Grundy, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “We never know what the weather will throw at us, so we always prepare for the worst.
“Our gritter crews will be on-call 24/7 from 23 October. Our teams use detailed forecast information from our eight weather stations across the county to help decide when and where to salt our county’s roads to ensure we keep Essex moving during the cold months.
“Last year our dedicated crews left festive and New Year’s celebrations to ensure more than 1.4 million Essex residents could get where they needed to be during cold snaps and for that I, and I’m sure our residents are, truly grateful.
“Salt bins for local residents to use have been topped up and salt is being delivered to town and parish councils through the Salt Bag Partnership.
“I would urge drivers to take note of the top tips above to help keep Essex moving safely this winter.”
Visit winter service
for information on winter school closures, weather warnings or flood alerts.