Road safety campaign launched warning of undertaking gritters

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A ROAD safety campaign is being rolled out in the south to warn drivers they could be putting their lives at risk if they use the hard shoulder to undertake gritters.

Highways England said it has noticed a growing problem with road users veering into the hard shoulder to avoid being struck by salt, risking a collision with a stationary vehicle and causing a hazard when gritters come off at junctions.

The latest statistics show that, on average, 16 people die every year as a result of collisions on hard shoulders or in laybys across England, and 45 suffer a serious injury.

Tim Lyver, from Highways England, said: ‘The vast majority of people support our gritter drivers by keeping back a sensible distance and only passing when it’s safe to do so, but a few have put themselves and others at risk by using the hard shoulder to undertake gritters.’

Gritters usually travel at 40mph in the middle lane when they are spreading salt on a three-lane motorway, treating the lane they are in and one lane on either side.

Drivers are being advised to only pass a gritter when it is safe to do so, avoiding using the hard shoulder and checking for hazards ahead.

More than 72,000 tonnes of salt being stored at 25 depots across the south east of England, enough to cover 320,000 miles of motorway – equivalent to a six-lane motorway travelling around the world over six times.