Buckinghamshire residents may have been surprised to see gritters on the county's roads on Saturday – even though there was no snow forecast.
On Saturday, October 16, Transport for Buckinghamshire (TfB) set out on its annual Winter Parade to check gritting routes and make sure the vehicles are ready for winter.
Every year, the gritters are taken for a test drive of their usual gritting routes, to help the 50 gritter drivers – who are on call 24/7 from October to March – refamiliarise themselves with the machines and the routes, as well as testing the safety of the routes.
If the drivers come across a hazard, such as an overhanging tree branch, this can be noted and action taken.
The Winter Parade is carried out after TfB has fully serviced the 50 gritting machines to make sure they’re ready to be used for the next six months.
Following the parade, they are parked up at their depots to wait for the first salting of the season.
Cabinet member for transport, Steven Broadbent, said: “It will soon be time for our gritters to get back on the roads.
"I’m sure the public will be very excited to spot the likes of Usain Salt and Snow Farah out and about, and I urge you all to give the drivers a wave if you see them.
“I am very proud that we salt 44 per cent of Buckinghamshire’s roads, a significant amount more than other local authorities.
"However, please remember that grit is not a failsafe, and just because a road has been gritted doesn’t mean it won’t still be icy.
"You should always drive to the conditions of the road.
“Thank you to our winter crews, who are now set to be on call 24 hours a day for the next six months, even over Christmas, to help keep our roads moving safely.”
For regular gritting updates, follow @buckscouncil on Twitter.
To find out more about how the council decides when to grit roads, the routes the gritters follow and how you can track where the gritting machines are, visit www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/winter-roads