How 1,300 drivers and 500 gritters will keep traffic moving on UK’s motorways this winter

A team of more than 1,300 gritter drivers have declared themselves ready for winter and vowed to help keep traffic across the country moving

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Highways England, which is responsibly for motorways and major A roads, has a fleet more than 500 vehicles ready to take to the streets when winter does its worst.

Snow on the M62

Snow on the M62

Highways England has a fleet of more than 500 gritters across the country. The authority has more than 260 weather stations across the country, which gather data that is then used to decide when to grit the thousands of miles of motorways and A roads.

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Paul Furlong, Highways England’s national winter and severe weather team leader, said: “Whether people are heading to friends and family or commuting to work, we care about people journeys and during any severe weather our teams will be working around the clock to keep traffic moving.

“Safety is our priority and we’re asking drivers to make sure they and their vehicles are also prepared for any eventuality. Before you set out, check your vehicle, the road conditions and the weather forecast.

“If conditions are poor, and journeys are not essential, consider waiting until the weather gets better – this should improve journeys, and give our gritters a chance to treat the roads.”

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Mr Furlong urged motorists to follow this advice:

• In snow and ice: Drivers should stick to the main roads where they can and only travel if necessary. Drivers are also encouraged to make sure they have a winter kit in their vehicle, including an ice scraper and de-icer, warm clothes and blankets and sunglasses to cope with the low winter sun.

• In high winds: Drivers should slow down and avoid using exposed sections of road if possible. Lorries, caravans and motorbikes are at particular risk. READ MORE: Bid to find ‘vulnerable blind woman’ assaulted on board Sheffield train

• In heavy rain: Drivers should keep well back from the vehicle in front, gradually ease off the accelerator if the steering becomes unresponsive, and slow down if the rain and spray from vehicles makes it difficult to see and be seen. City gets pie-eyed over its anniversary party

• In fog: Drivers should switch on their fog lights and not use lights on full beam as the fog will reflect the light back. If drivers really cannot see, they should consider stopping until it is safe to continue.