Warning of icy conditions as gritters head out on Devon’s roads


Posted on: 14 January 2016

Gritters are out on Devon’s main salting routes this afternoon as temperatures are set to dip below zero later.

With freezing conditions forecast across the county, road surface temperatures are expected to plummet to as low as -3.3C in East Devon from early this evening, and icy patches may be a problem in areas of the county affected by water run-off following recent rainfall.

The County Council is advising people to take extreme care if travelling overnight and tomorrow morning, particularly on untreated roads.

There is also a threat of wintry showers overnight with the possibility of up to 2cm of snow on higher ground on Dartmoor, Exmoor and the Blackdown Hills. This could wash salt from the roads and may lead to icy conditions, even on treated roads.

Devon County Council is treating around 1,700 of the county’s main salting network throughout this afternoon and some routes will be gritted again at 3am tomorrow morning.

Councillor Stuart Hughes

Councillor Stuart Hughes

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said: “We’ve had a relatively mild winter so far, so it may come as a shock to some people with temperatures dropping to their lowest of the season so far. I would urge everyone to take extra care overnight and tomorrow, plan ahead and reduce your speed.

“There are still a lot of damp roads around which means that ice could be a hazard, particularly on untreated minor roads. It’s possible for ice to form on treated roads. Every effort is being made to keep our highways as clear as possible in order to keep Devon moving.”

Over the past few days the county’s highways teams have been responding to flood and storm clear up, and addressing blocked drains to get our main salting network in the best condition possible.

Road surface temperatures could drop to -5C on Saturday evening and freezing conditions are expected to continue into next week.

Motorists are reminded of the following advice:

  • Avoid overnight travel unless absolutely essential as roads will always be more hazardous at night with less traffic and colder temperatures.
  • Never assume a road has been salted. Remember that showers or rain will wash salt off roads leaving them prone to ice, and in extreme cold even salting will not stop ice from forming.
  • Allow additional time for your journey and reduce your speed.
  • Drive with care and according to the conditions.
  • If you have vulnerable or elderly neighbours, think about how they could possibly be helped through the cold spell.
  • Listen to local radio for updates on current weather conditions.

More information and travel advice is available from Devon County Council at Winter travel or for updates on Twitter follow @HughHOCC and @DevonAlert

Posted in: Environment