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Opinion : How do you know if the road you are driving on has been gritted?

| November 24, 2016


It’s that time of year again when Jack Frost pays the world a visit during the small hours and the gritters are busy making sure the roads are safe to drive on.

Indeed the roads of Buckinghamshire have been treated several times already this year making sure the so called ‘precautionary routes’ are free of ice.

I was surprised to learn that the ‘precautionary routes’ consist of 1,405km of the county’s A and B road network which is about 44% of the total network in Buckinghamshire.

The other day my good self happened to be driving late at night on a country road. The temperature was very close to freezing and it was likely that ice would be forming on the road if it had not been treated.

While there is a map of the roads that comprise the ‘precautionary routes’ and information as to whether gritting has been actioned on a particular night available on the internet how on earth was yours truly supposed to know if the road I was travelling on was one scheduled for treatment or even if the gritters had taken to the roads that night?

Come to think of it how was one supposed to know if the outside ‘road’ temperature was low enough for ice to form? After all ice won’t just appear everywhere as surely hollows and other sheltered parts of the road are likely to become susceptible to freezing first.

Rather than putting a map of the roads to be treated on the internet would it not be a better idea to place a marker, such as a blue snowflake symbol, on the road signs along the roads that make up the ‘precautionary routes’? That way drivers would know if the road they were travelling on was one of those to be scheduled for treatment in the case of freezing temperatures.

On roads where no gritting takes place and ice is likely to form maybe a red snowflake could be displayed to warn drivers that no matter what it’s possible that ice would be present during cold weather.

Of course that still doesn’t tell the driver if the road has actually been treated.

In this age of newfangled electrical technology why can’t solar powered information signs be installed on the roads that detect when a gritting lorry has passed by and show the amount of time elapsed since the road was last gritted?

It’s no good gritting roads if the motorists are unaware that the road has been treated or even if it is scheduled for treatment.

I wonder how many accidents are caused every year by drivers assuming that the roads are frost free when actually that may not actually be the case?

What do you think?

*My blogs are published every Tuesday and Friday evening around 8.00pm here on the WycombeToday.com website.

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