Grit and determination: Road salting ‘worth every penny’ across Manchester

An increased effort will be required to make the roads safer across Manchester in the next few months, after experts predicted a colder than average winter lies ahead.

The Department for Transport’s latest full-year figures reported that snowy or icy road surfaces have resulted in 38 deaths across Great Britain.

Research also stated that 544 people were seriously injured and 4,584 were slightly hurt, with 48% of winter car accidents coming as a result of skidding.

The procedure behind gritting of our roads is handled by the Salt Association who assist Manchester City Council in ensuring that the danger is minimised.

A Salt Association spokesman said: “Road salting is worth every penny. A recent MORI poll survey indicated that more than half the population would be prepared to pay more in their council tax to have their local routes salted.”

The council have a dedicated gritting Twitter account while their gritting routes can also be found here.

Research has shown that for every £1 expended on winter road maintenance, about £8 is saved in the economy as a whole.

Writer for SaltSense and the Salt Association Ian Covey said: “Thank goodness for rock salt; ­ it’s kept our road network moving in ice and snow for half a century, and its still by far the best option for de-icing highways, which is why a major part of the salt industry is dedicated to the maintenance of roads and pavements.”

But where on earth does all this salt come from? And how does it actually work?

Thankfully, Salt Association can help us with these questions and have also given their top five tips to stay safe in snowy and icy conditions.

The majority of UK-produced salt comes from mines based in Cheshire, Cleveland and Northern Ireland and these contain sufficient amounts for years to come.

Salt helps lower the freezing point of water, and in practice is effective down to -10°c, which helps any snow or standing water from turning into ice.

Here are their top five tips to stay safe:

Ensure that your journey is necessary – allow plenty of time and put safety before punctuality.

Clear all windows of snow and ice using de-icer and a scraper – do not set off with just a tiny hole cleared in the windscreen.

Avoid harsh braking and acceleration or sharp steering – chances of skidding are much greater in icy conditions. Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.

Always reduce your speed – Increase the gap between you and the vehicle in front. You may need up to TEN TIMES the normal distance for braking.

Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads – these freeze first. At temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might still encounter ice patches.

Image courtesy of the Highways Agency, with thanks.

Related Articles