Motorists urged to be wary of icy conditions as temperatures plunge
Gritters out to combat overnight freeze, while Met Office issues ‘yellow’ rain alert.
DEVON County Council’s gritters have headed out this afternoon (Wednesday) as temperatures are expected to plunge early this evening.
Road surface temperatures are expected to drop below freezing right across the county from between 6pm and 9pm, with the east of the county dropping to below -4C overnight.
With widespread ice and frost likely on Devon’s roads, gritters have been out in force from 2pm.
Because of continued water run-off problems following the recent downpours they will be out again at around 4am tomorrow morning.
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The county council is warning that driving conditions could be hazardous, particularly off the main precautionary salting network.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Member for Highways and Transportation, said: “Tonight’s temperatures will be among the coldest we’ve had so far this winter.
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“Roads are still wet and there is standing water and water run-off from fields, particularly on more minor roads, which could lead to icy patches overnight and tomorrow morning.
“Motorists should remember that ice may even form on treated roads, so I would urge everyone to take care if they are travelling, particularly overnight.”
As well as icy temperatures, the Met Office has issued a yellow warning of rain across the region for tonight and tomorrow.
A spokesman for the Met Office said: “Rain will become heavy for a time during the second half of Thursday across parts of Wales and southwest England.
“With the ground still being saturated following last week’s heavy rain and some river levels still high, the public should be aware of the risk of localised flooding.”
Motorists are being reminded of the following advice:
• Avoid overnight travel unless absolutely essential as roads will always be more hazardous at night with less traffic and colder temperatures;
• Never assume a road has been salted. Remember that showers or rain will wash salt off roads leaving them prone to ice, and in extreme cold even salting will not stop ice from forming;
• Allow additional time for your journey and reduce your speed;
• Drive with care and according to the conditions;
• If you have vulnerable or elderly neighbours, check to see how they could possibly be helped through the cold spell;
• Listen to local radio for updates on current weather conditions.
For more information and travel advice visit: www.devon.gov.uk/winter