Ice and Snow: Gritting the roads – the nitty gritty facts!

These days Crushed rock salt is often used to de-ice roads instead of old-fashioned traditional grit because it is more environmentally friendly and leaves no residual mess after the gritting job has been done. It also does not block drains in the way that traditional grit would, which is an important consideration! Here we are taking a look at the really nitty gritty facts of the ice and snow gritting of our roads, paths and car parks across the UK.

The mineral salts present in crushed rock salt, once spread, are then mixed up by passing lorry, bus, van and car tyres thereby creating a saline solution. This melts any ice present which then cleanly washes away into nearby storm drains, leaving the roads clear. Old –fashioned grit often left behind a sticky residue, potentially creating somewhat slippery driving conditions and blocking the drains – not what you want!

It is important to note that at temperatures below minus 4C Salt starts losing its effectiveness, and it becomes mostly ineffective below minus 10C.

In the United Kingdom many local councils now use 6mm grains of rock salt, reducing the risk of any potential damage to vehicle windscreens. Some councils however, especially in colder areas, may still prefer to use 10mm grains of rock salt, which can provide a better coverage on wider roads, such as motorways or dual carriageways, and also for treating already settled snow.

Fact: A mix of salt and rock often leads to better results as the rock helps to grind down the salt crystals into the road surface, enhancing the overall  de-icing effect.

grit lorry at work

Counting the cost of inaction?

An incredible two million plus tonnes of rock salt are spread out across the UK’s road network every single year, at a not insubstantial cost of over £150 million. But this is a small price to pay considering the safety and economic benefits that can be gained for the country by ensuring that the road network is kept as clear and smooth running as possible.

Without any gritting of the roads, it is likely that delays and other issues caused would cost the UK economy over £2 billion per year, so the cost is a small price to pay!

The most important consideration

The most important consideration of course is the number of lives that can be saved by the countries hard working professional road gritters. Sadly, around 1,000 people are still killed or seriously injured on icy or snow covered roads every year.

These horrific statistics are an issue for us all, as a society, and something that the professional team at De Ice are naturally keen to reduce. We always strive to do our utmost to ensure the safety of all of the countries motorists, cyclists and indeed pedestrians too.

This is why we invest in the most up to date tools and technology to get a good gritting job done, out on the nations streets at any time of day or night.