Motorists are being urged to take extreme care as freezing temperatures cause widespread ice on roads across the county.
Gloucestershire County Council has been out over the weekend and overnight gritting roads to try to prevent ice from forming. Gritting teams were out throughout the day yesterday, treating the roads and ploughing to remove snow, with up to 12 inches falling in parts of the county.
To ensure roads were treated again before temperatures dropped overnight, a second team was brought in during early evening and a complete grit run of all A and B roads in the central area took place at 7pm last night. But when temperatures plummet below -7, grit become less effective. Below -10, grit has no effect at all. Last night, the county saw averages temperatures of around -10 with some areas dropping to as low as -17. This has led to widespread ice forming on the roads with particular problems in urban areas of Cheltenham and Gloucester.
The council already has fleets out around the county, but with temperatures likely to fall to below -7 again, ice is likely to remain on the roads. Cllr Stan Waddington, cabinet member for environment, said: “I completely understand people’s frustrations, but when we’re seeing temperatures as low as -17 no amount of gritting will make any difference. “Unfortunately, grit does not work when it’s this cold and there is simply nothing we can do about that.
“We will continue to do all we can to keep the roads moving, but I am afraid that there are no easy solutions here.
“I would advise people to make essential journeys only and to take extreme care if they have to go out in the car and check the forecast before leaving.”
Motorists are advised to stay off the roads if possible, but if you do have to drive, do so with extreme caution.
Tips on winter driving can be found online at www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/winter.
Inspector Keith Fagan, Gloucestershire Police, said: “Due to the current adverse weather conditions we are continuing to advise drivers not to make their journey unless it is absolutely necessary.
“If you must travel then the first thing I would always recommend is that you allow plenty of time to complete your journey.
- “Trying to reach a destination within a tight time-scale, especially in poor weather conditions, increases stress and the potential for an incident.
- “Drivers are also urged to prepare their vehicle and make sure it is in good condition before setting out.
- “Make sure that you clear all the snow, ice and misting from your windscreen and other windows before starting to drive.
- “Keep your speed steady and slow and remember that braking distances can more than double on wet or icy road surfaces.”
While the council will do all it can to keep roads free of ice, residents are being urged to do their bit too by helping to clear pavements.
Last year people were worried about liability issues after clearing ice and snow themselves.
But new guidance from the government on gritting your own driveways and pavements is now available on www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/winter and people are being advised to ensure they’re prepared before bad weather hits.