Posted on: January 10, 2019

Importance of Gritting the Road in Winter

In winter you will probably be familiar with the feeling of slipping on a frozen path. This little slip might cause some annoyance or a bruised elbow. But cars losing traction on the road can cause serious injuries or death. For this reason, using grit to make roads safer is essential for motorists. This article will examine the gritting process and its importance further.

But first, what is grit and how does it work?

Grit is actually salt, when spread on roads it prevents ice from forming. It also causes existing ice to melt. Gritting is most effective on busy roads and walkways, as driving or walking over the salt helps it break down, melting the ice faster. Salting less frequented roads can prevent large sheets of ice from forming. This works because mixing water with salt produces brine, which lowers the freezing temperature of water. Once the grit has started working it creates a salty solution that can drain off the road. The salt rocks used to grit the road may also contain small rocks, to help drivers get more traction on slippery roads. Councils use weather reports and road temperatures to decide how often they should grit the roads.

One of the biggest benefits to grit is the ability to keep motorists safe.

Without grit, the roads would be icy. Unable to generate friction on the ice, the cars wouldn’t be able to steer. This would cause crashes, resulting in injuries and possibly even deaths. Gritting roads prevents this tragic sequence of events from occurring. Another possible scenario is that emergency services would have to slow down on icy roads. Not gritting could prevent vital help from arriving in time.

Additionally, not gritting roads could cause severe economic effects. For example, a business would be severely affected if its road wasn’t gritted. Customers wouldn’t be able to reach them and would decide to go elsewhere. Additionally, icy roads would force people to drive slower, this would increase congestion along roads. A longer commute to work would make businesses less productive and generate less money for the economy. When you start to consider these myriad of effects, it’s not hard to understand how a country like the United Kingdom could save themselves two billion pounds a year by spending just 150 million pounds on gritting the road.

This article has told you everything you need to know about grit. We discussed what grit is, how it works and how councils decide how often it is applied. The importance of grit was also discussed. We looked at how it keeps motorists safe be preventing accidents. Some of the economic effects that could ensue if roads weren’t kept driveable through gritting were also examined.

So next time you see a grit truck or someone gritting their path you can appreciate the science underlying it and the important contribution to society they are making by performing this seemingly insignificant act.

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