Drivers advised to be prepared for winter


Drivers across Essex, Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock are being advised to be prepared for wintry conditions with the arrival of the first cold snap of winter 2015/16.

Gritters across the county are at the ready with the forecast predicting cold weather across the SERP area for the next few days, which could result in poor driving conditions.

Essex County Council has taken the necessary measures to prepare for the weather by stocking up on salt and drawing up rotas for gritter drivers.

Gritting routes have been tested on ‘dry runs’ over the past few months to ensure as little disruption as possible when icy weather hits. In addition, local salt bins have been topped up in preparation for the winter weather.

Councillor Eddie Johnson, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways Delivery, said: “We are fully prepared for the forecasted weather and focused on ensuring key routes are kept open and road surfaces are as safe as possible for drivers.

“The council will play its part in keeping the roads safe but I would also advise drivers to take the necessary steps to prepare for the weather and to drive sensibly.”

The council currently has approximately 15,500 tonnes of salt in stock with more deliveries available if and when required.

The winter officially began for highways maintenance engineers on October 26, starting with a “low-risk” period before moving up a gear into “high-risk” season in December.

The fleet of more than 60 vehicles covers about 2,000 miles of Essex highways including all major traffic routes and selected A and B roads. It uses around 200 tonnes of salt on each run, with each route on its salting network being treatable in a maximum of three hours.

The council has also produced a ‘winter checklist’ of items drivers should have in their vehicle, which includes:

• Ice scraper and de-icer
• Bottled water
• Snacks
• A torch
• Blanket, rug or sleeping bag
• Battery jump leads
• Shovel (to dig out a car in heavy snow)
• Bits of carpet or thick cardboard (to place under driven wheels to help regain traction on ice or snow)

The SERP website contains more advice about driving in wintry conditions, along with links to other sources of information on the subject including the Highway Code, RAC and AA websites.

24 November 2015

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