National Highways’ gritters are back out on the roads this week to cope with a period of cold weather after all the rain we have recently had.

It is also reminding motorists to give gritters plenty of space and time on the road after revealing one of its vehicles was hit by another vehicle while out salt spreading earlier this winter.

Road users should also consider the following steps to keep safe on the road in terms of planning for their journey, keeping pace with the latest weather forecasts, and ensuring they carry out regular vehicle checks.

Darren Clark, Severe Weather Resilience Manager, at National Highways, said: “We would ask all road users to take extra care when driving when our gritters are out on our road. Whilst gritters travel up to 50mph when spreading, road users need to be aware of the road and traffic ahead of them.

“We have had an incident this winter where the rear of a gritter was hit.

“We ask all road users to give our staff time and space to do their job safely, and if you see our vehicles indicating to change lanes please do what you can to safely help us to do this.”

National Highways has road temperature and weather forecast contracts with independent meteorological experts DTN and Metdesk running from October 1 to April 30 and complement the national Met Office weather forecast, by providing a level of granularity and precision about changing road surface temperatures across our road network so they know when and where to grit.

Mr Clark said: “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 frost or ice forming, but not in other areas if conditions are not as cold.

“National Highways is committed to treating every road which needs to be treated – whenever it is needed.

“We are armed with the latest technology, forecasting intelligence and years of experience to help us make informed decisions about where and when we need to spread salt to help keep road users safe in even the most adverse weather conditions.

“For road users we suggest always check the weather forecasts, plan your journey, allowing more time for travel in wintry conditions, and carry out regular vehicle checks such as your coolant and tyre pressures.”

National Highways recently completed the assembly of its new £44m two-year investment in a fleet of 252 Volvo gritter vehicles, some of which carried out winter operations last year, and all of which are involved in salt spreading this season. The investment now means the organisation has around 530 gritter vehicles available this winter.