They may be traditionally seen when snowy weather sets in - but following the heatwave GRITTERS are being used to help stop the roads from MELTING!
Transport for Buckinghamshire says it is getting the gritters out of summer retirement to tackle the effect of the prolonged hot temperatures on the roads.
The authority says that road surface temperatures are much hotter than the ambient air temperature, and are now regularly exceeding 50c by mid-afternoon in places, causing some road surfaces to soften.
As bitumen bleeds through to the road surface it can look very black and slick, particularly on roads that are subject to a high level of turning and braking movements from traffic, or that do not get any shade.
Buckinghamshire County Council's deputy leader and transport cabinet member Mark Shaw, said: “This is not a problem unique to Buckinghamshire, roads are suffering all over the country at the moment as this unbelievable weather persists! Look out for our gritters spreading sand and dust over the roads in Bucks over the coming days and weeks, to absorb the bitumen and help prevent deterioration of the road surface.
"My huge thanks go to TfB teams working in sweltering temperatures to keep the roads safe.”
Transport for Bucks says that the gritters will continue operating until the extreme hot weather conditions subside, and road surfaces return to a more normal temperature.
The country is currently experiencing the longest period of consistent hot weather since 1976, with temperatures frequently reaching 29 deg.C and above, with no sign of things cooling down soon.
Transport chiefs say that the hot weather is also impacting on the progress of the much-needed summer road resurfacing programme, because temperatures are too high to lay down certain types of surface treatments.
The authority would like road users – as usual – to exercise care while travelling, including taking care of their vehicles and themselves. While vehicle breakdowns are no more likely in hot weather than any other time, the conditions would be very hot and uncomfortable. Cars should be checked before longer journeys and motorists should carry plenty of water to keep hydrated.
Bucks County Council has issued advice to residents to combat health risks from hot weather: wearing UV sunglasses, drinking plenty of cool drinks, looking out for those with serious illnesses and never leaving anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.