The science of Gritting. Keeping the roads clear.

There is an old saying “How do the Road Gritters get to work?” It’s usually a thing that DJ’s say when it’s snowing and your crawling along the A40. It’s also closely followed by a comment of how “here’s Coldplay to take us up to the news” and you wish the Gritters had done a better job, so you’re not stuck in the car having to listen to it. There is a simple answer, the Gritters are out the night before and got the job done. It might well be that your stuck in the carpark and haven’t even attempted to get home. If that’s the case, then it’s a quick call to get someone to do some Car Park Gritting done like What actually happens when the grit hits the road.

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First of all, we no longer “grit” the roads anymore it’s actually rock salt that has been crushed. The main reason Rock salt is used is that it is much more of an environmentally friendly substitute to grit. In this day and age, we need this more and more. The Gritters (Rock Salters doesn’t have the same ring to it) spread the stuff all over the road the night before or well before the weather is about to close in. This is the how they get to work. They don’t wait until its actually snowing.

The most important part of the process is that once the grit is spread our cars, bikes and buses need to get out onto the road so that the rock salt gets mixed up creating a saline solution as you would expect as its Salt. Grit was not a great substance as it made for a slippery surface slightly defeating the object of the process. It also blocks drains.

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The problem with Salt is if the temperature drops below minus 4 centigrade then the salt starts to lose effectiveness below minus 10 and it becomes next to useless.  It’s worth using though as you need to remember that snow will not fall in those temperatures the saying “it’s too cold to snow” is actually pretty accurate. This is the reason why the rock element is added to increase its longevity.

If you think that there’s not enough grit down you should think again, two million tonnes of the stuff is put on the road. This costs about one hundred and fifty million pounds. However, if it saves lives, and it does as it makes the roads considerably safer, then that’s a fine cost to pay. So, don’t think “it won’t be gritted” it probably has and if you decide to go out then you really helping the clearing of the roads.

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