Grit expectations: drivers warned of winter's arrival

 

Road gritting and snow clearance teams are standing by to deal with the first onslaught of wintry weather.

Forecasters are predicting much colder temperatures tomorrow followed by even colder conditions on Friday and Saturday as many schools break up for the half-term holiday.

With snow expected on Scottish mountains and sleet in other areas, the Gritit company is holding a skid-prevention training event at Donington Park race track in Derbyshire tomorrow.

Gritit said: "With forecasters predicting a significant drop in temperatures this weekend, we are expecting our teams to be out gritting for the first time this season."

Gritit's operations director, Nikki Singh-Barmi, added: "The driver safety training day at Donington is part of our annual preparations for the coming season.

"By the nature of their job, our drivers are required to be on the road during the most challenging and sometimes treacherous conditions, so it is vital they have the skills needed.

"We have a duty of care not only to our team and clients, but also the general public, and by introducing this practical training two years ago we've significantly reduced the number of incidents our drivers are involved in."

In the exercise, drivers will experience, among other things, skid control, the best ways of spreading salt and how to "read" the weather.

MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, predicted that temperatures, which have been well above average in most places for late October, could fall as low as 3C (37F) tomorrow.

A survey of nearly 2,000 drivers carried out by the RAC found that 28% were planning a holiday or a short break this autumn.

As a result, the breakdown service said it was gearing up for an autumn "roads rush" by scheduling an extra 10 per cent of patrol hours on 26 October as well as for the expected rise in return-to-work call-outs on Monday 5 November from people who have left a vehicle - often a second family car - unused for a week.

RAC technical director David Bizley said: "The expected extra half-term traffic will have a significant impact on congestion on the roads."

The RAC is advising motorists to listen to the weather forecast before making any long journeys and to ensure they are ready for adverse conditions on the road.

PA

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