Winter Roads Maintenance
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Getting ready for winter
British winter is not predictable. Winter can strike suddenly and severely. In extremely
bad weather the best advice is to stay off the road. If you must drive, make sure
you are prepared for the conditions.
In winter it is even more important to check your vehicle is well maintained and
- keep your lights clean and the battery fully charged
- add anti-freeze to the radiator and additive to the windscreen washer bottles
- tyre grip is even more important in wintry weather so check tread depth and pressure
Before setting off on your journey during wintry weather conditions:
- ask yourself if your journey is absolutely essential
- check local and national weather forecasts
- listen to local and national radio for travel information
- take a mobile phone and ensure that others have the number
- tell someone what time you expect to arrive
- warm clothes, blankets & emergency supplies are required including boots and
- clear your windows and mirrors before you set off
- a plastic shovel (snow sticks to metal) may come in handy
If you get into trouble:
- abandoned vehicles can cause problems for rescue vehicles and snowploughs. To ensure
that the road is cleared as quickly as possible, you are advised to stay with your
vehicle until help arrives.
- if you have to leave your vehicle to get help, make sure other vehicles can see
Adjust your driving to the conditions:
Hail, heavy snow and rain reduce visibility, therefore dip your headlights and reduce
- use dipped headlights and reduce speed
When roads are icy or slushy:
- drive slowly, allowing extra room to slow down and stop
- it can take ten times longer to stop in icy conditions than on a dry road
- use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin
- manoeuvre gently, avoid harsh braking and acceleration
- to brake on ice and snow without locking your wheels get into a low gear earlier
than normal, allow your speed to fall and use the brake pedal gently
- if you skid ease off the accelerator but do not brake suddenly
Watch out for fog - it drifts rapidly and is often patchy:
- drive very slowly using dipped headlights
- use fog lights if visibility is seriously reduced, but remember to switch them off
when visibility improves
- don't hang on to the tail lights of the vehicle in front - this gives you a false
sense of security and means you may be driving too close
- don't speed up suddenly - even if it seems to be clearing you can suddenly find
yourself back in thick fog
- dazzle from winter sun can be dangerous - if it's too low for the visor it might
be worth keeping a pair of sunglasses handy
If you come across a flooded road:
- drive slowly in first gear but keep the engine speed high by slipping the clutch
- this will stop you from stalling
- avoid the deepest water which is usually near the kerb
- don't attempt to cross if the water seems too deep
- Remember - test your brakes when you are through the flood before
you drive at normal speed
Take care around winter maintenance vehicles
Drivers of winter maintenance vehicles take all possible precautions during salting
and snowploughing operations to protect the safety of other road users.
Salting vehicles are extremely powerful and travel at about 35mph spreading salt
across the carriageway. Drivers should maintain a safe distance behind them - do
not attempt to overtake.
You should take particular care to watch for irregular accumulations of snow caused
by snowploughing operations. Do not be tempted to overtake snowploughs by squeezing
into partially cleared lanes.
Keeping the roads open
Winter maintenance work of salting, gritting and snow clearing is controlled in
South Ayrshire by Roads Maintenance Services. The 24 hour contact number is
Priority is given to strategic roads, main access roads to Accident and Emergency
Hospitals, access to fire stations and main bus routes. If conditions permit, every
effort is made to deal with secondary and local roads in order of priority.
During the winter maintenance season (October to May inclusive) a 24 hour forecast
is provided by the MeteoGroup to South Ayrshire Council each day after which a decision
is made by experienced staff with regard to the timing and type of treatment to
the road network if required.
The treatment decision can be found here.
Supply of road salt
Small amounts of salt can be obtained free from the depots at
Meadowhead in Coylton and
Grangestone Industrial Estate in Girvan between 10.00a.m. and 4.00p.m.
(Monday - Thursday) and 10.00a.m. - 3.00p.m. (Friday) or from grit bins outside
the depots at other times. Please provide your own container and transport.
A supply of salt is also available from salt bins at various locations
throughout South Ayrshire.