Hertfordshire residents advised to keep warm and stay safe in cold weather

Hertfordshire's gritters

Hertfordshire's gritters - Credit: Archant

As Hertfordshire’s gritters hit the roads this week, the county council is calling on residents to remember to keep warm, stay safe on the roads and look out for older and vulnerable neighbours.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zo4nP1N3fg&feature=youtu.be

Freezing fog and low temperatures mean that county council staff are working hard to keep the traffic flowing.

The council has released a video of Steve Castle, a gritter driver for Hertfordshire County Council’s highways contractor Ringway, talking about a typical night out on the road.

Over the past two nights 58 gritting vehicles have been out, covering nearly half of Hertfordshire’s entire road network with salt. That’s more than 1,400 miles (2,230km) or the equivalent of salting from Hertford to Berlin and back.

The gritters will be out again tonight and drivers are advised to take extra care in cold and foggy weather.

Highways Network Group Manager Jon Prince and gritter driver Steve Castle have been working over the Christmas period. Jon is one of the 100 Hertfordshire County Council staff trained and prepared to manage the winter service.

Jon says: “The job involves dealing with the effects of snow working with our weather forecasters to predict the potential impacts of winter weather and sharing our decisions with residents and other authorities.”

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As part of his job Jon assesses information from the 13 weather recording stations around the county which warn the council about bad weather conditions during winter.

He said: “The thing I find most interesting is monitoring the weather and road conditions to determine exactly when the gritters need to be mobilised.”

Terry Douris, cabinet member for highways, said: “At this time of year we make sure that our gritters are ready, our salt stocks are high and the county’s 1,000-plus salt bins are topped up.

“Salt is the best material we have to treat ice and snow, but it’s by no means perfect, so we recommend that residents take great care when driving or walking when it’s icy.”

The council is also re-iterating winter health messages to ensure that people are kept safe and well inside their homes, as well as on the roads.

Cabinet member for public health, localism and libraries, Teresa Heritage, said: “Winter is a challenging time of year and a sudden bout of bad weather can have serious consequences. A few simple steps can make all the difference.

“Try to heat your home to at least 18°C (65°F) and wrap up warm. Make sure you have at least one hot meal a day and drink lots of fluids and warm drinks.

“If you do feel unwell, seek advice from your pharmacist – they’re qualified to advise you on the best course of action and most now have a private consultation area.

“Older neighbours, relatives, friends and other elderly members of the community are more vulnerable in the winter months and may need a bit of extra help this winter so make sure you keep in touch.”

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