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Traffic Wales information line 0300 123 1213
The Welsh Government’s traffic information service for motorways and trunk roads in Wales

Gritting on the Network- Myth Busting


Get the nitty-gritty on salt spreaders across Wales’ motorways and trunk roads. 

Both trunk road agents work hard during the winter months to keep the network clear during severe weather. Local authorities look after all the other roads. 

We are debunking some of the commonest myths about what is involved to keep our roads clear.

Salt Myth 1: “The roads have been gritted so I can just drive like normal”.

This isn’t true – braking distances are still far longer than in the summer, especially on summer tyres. Drive to the conditions.

Salt Myth 2: “Salt magically makes ice and snow disappear”.

Unfortunately not. Salt mixes with the snow and ice to create brine which has a lower freezing point. It helps to clear ice and soften snow and helps it melt quicker. It still needs traffic to mix and soften it.

Salt Myth 3: “There’s been a collision, you’ve clearly not gritted”.

Our gritters are out whenever conditions require and forecasts are continually being monitored. Regardless of the amount of salt, conditions can still be difficult and driver behaviour has to change to suit. 

Salt Myth 4: “The roads are white, you haven’t gritted”

Whilst ice is often white, salt also dries onto the road surface white.

Salt Myth 5: “It’s snowing and the road’s closed, you’re not gritting/ploughing enough”

Unfortunately, once a vehicle becomes stuck in snow and no traffic is moving, the effects of salt reduces and our gritters often have to wait until the vehicles have been recovered.

Salt Myth 6: “There’s snow on the road, you’ve not gritted”

Salt does not prevent snow from settling on the carriageway, especially when falling heavily. Salt works to make it clear more quickly.

Salt Myth 7: “Salt’s there to increase traction”

This isn’t true, Whilst it does provide some adhesion, It’s there to help minimise the effects of snow and ice.


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