Gritters are again about to become a familiar site on our roads during the winter months but many of us don't really know how Winter Gritting or for some spreading De-icing Salt works.
How does Winter Gritting work?
Salt is generally 100% effective down to a temperature of -9 degrees which is extremely cold and seldom experienced in the UK. In other countries where the temperatures plummet below this, different methods are used, for example, volcanic granite chippings which are used in Germany.
Salt is used to create an impurity in the water to lower the freezing point to below zero. Salt is more effective at preventing ice forming rather than melting ice, which is why we carry out gritting at night when the temperatures are at their coldest. Hence, gritting roads actually works by doing it in the middle of the night.
Will it work when it snows?
Salt only effectively melts snow when it is less than 40mm deep and even then, there is a risk that the snow dilutes the salt to the point that it becomes ineffective. This is why snow clearance is usually carried out after snow has fallen, followed by a gritting visit to prevent further formation of ice.
We use a specialist weather forecasting service which measures surface temperature across the UK; the trigger temperature for us to attend site and carry out gritting is usually 0 degrees. So even when the weather forecast on, for example BBC Weather, is showing above zero, localised weather conditions may cause RST to drop below zero, which will trigger a gritting visit.
For more information get in touch with one of our experts who'll be happy to talk you through all the options to ensure your sites stay safe and operational throughout the winter, no matter the weather.