By Ian Dipple Monday 14 January 2013 Updated: 14/01 16:22
GRITTERS had one of their busiest weekends of the winter season so far as residents woke up to a winter wonderland this morning (Monday).
Redditch was covered in a smattering of snow with up to two centimetres falling in places across the borough overnight. Highways officials were well prepared, taking to the roads from 2pm yesterday afternoon to grit main routes before heading out again with snow ploughs to clear roads.
Over Saturday, Sunday and the early hours of today (Monday) all of the county's designated routes - some 800 miles worth of road - were covered. So far this winter about 2,000 tonnes of salt has been used but county chiefs say they are well prepared with 11,000 tonnes still in depots.
Although there is a 50 per cent chance of some rain or sleet showers during the day Redditch looks likely to avoid the heavier band of snow forecast for North East England, Yorkshire and Humber and the East Midlands.
Ice now presents the main danger as temperatures will drop below freezing every night this week. Overnight on Tuesday is expected to be the worst when the mercury will drop to minus four during the early hours and is unlikely to get above freezing throughout Wednesday.
Jon Fraser, Worcestershire County Council's highways customer and community manager, said: "The weather forecasts anticipated a busy weekend for the gritting crews and it turned out that way.
"It does look like it's going to remain cold for the rest of this week and, as usual, we'll be monitoring things around the clock with gritters on standby to roll out when needed. I expect the teams will be out and about over the next few days.
"As ever, we'd urge motorists to take care as they are out and about on the roads when freezing temperatures bite. The message is still the same but not less important - don't assume it's safe to travel at normal speeds just because you think it's been treated with grit. Always temper driving and respect the conditions."
A number of collisions took place over the weekend, which police believe were due to poor road conditions.
A car overturned on Coldfield Drive in Oakenshaw on Sunday (January 13) about 8.30am, while police had to close the Bromsgrove Highway about 9.15am after a Saab crashed close to the Foxlydiate turn-off.
Shotly after a KA, Volvo and police car were also involved in collisions. The slip road from Brockhill and Tardebigge were closed while the cars were cleared and the roads were reopened about 11.45 am.
West Mercia Safer Roads Partnership is urging motorists to leave greater distances between them and the car in front as well as to avoid braking sharply and accelerating quickly as it could lead to wheels locking or spinning.
Drivers are also being reminded of the importance of carrying items in their car such as an ice scraper, torch, warm clothes, a blanket, a pair of boots, first aid kit, battery jump leads, a snow shovel and ensure their mobile phone is fully charged.
Anna Higgins, communications manager at the safer roads partnership, said: "Drivers are advised to look as far ahead as possible to anticipate what other road users might be planning to do, especially at junctions and roundabouts. Braking sharply on a slippery road will only make the situation worse and could cause the brakes to lock and the car to skid."
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