Gritters ready for winter – are you?

By on 30/10/2014 in News

Gritter drivers in Birmingham are ready and waiting for the first cold snap of the season as Amey, working in partnership with Birmingham City Council, has launched the city’s winter maintenance service.

Gritters are on standby 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week from the beginning of October through to March and are sent out when ice is predicted on road surfaces as well as when snow settles on the roads. Weather conditions are monitored around the clock and the majority of call outs happen in the early evening and overnight before temperatures are at their lowest. 

The service in Birmingham covers 1,200 km of highways, about the same distance as it would be to drive from Birmingham to Berlin, and aims to help keep road users as safe as possible during spells of icy weather. It also covers footways in key areas such as in the city centre.

To coincide with the launch of the gritting service and to help highlight the importance of being prepared for winter driving, Amey has teamed up with ATS to ask motorists to complete an online survey to find out how prepared they are as the winter fast approaches.

Responses from the survey will help Amey’s local winter maintenance teams identify and tackle common mistakes made by motorists, such as failing to carry the correct equipment and conduct appropriate vehicle checks before driving in dangerous icy conditions.

The survey is available online at or alternatively you can take part by joining Amey’s Winter Maintenance team at Birmingham’s Christmas Parade event on Saturday 8th November. Participants can choose to enter our prize draw to win a Red Letter Day driving experience, a £100 voucher from ATS Euromaster or a Michelin drivers’ gift bag.

Chris Lucas, Network Co-ordinator for Amey, said:
“Our winter maintenance team is on stand-by and ready to be called out as soon as the temperatures drop. They work incredibly hard every year, spreading salt at any time of day or night as needed to help keep Birmingham’s roads safe.

“We are keen to stress to motorists that they need to be prepared too. By doing the right vehicle checks and carrying the right equipment, drivers can reduce the risk of having problems in wintery weather. This survey aims to get people thinking about their own level of preparedness.â€

Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), said: “Winter brings difficult driving conditions, so drivers need to prepare for this increased risk. Get your car checked to make sure it’s ready for winter driving, plan journeys to allow extra time, adapt your driving to the conditions and keep an emergency kit in your car. Also, listen to weather and traffic forecasts and be prepared to postpone your journey in very poor conditions.

“Every winter, highway authorities and their partners do a great job gritting and clearing snow. We very much welcome Amey’s winter preparedness survey, which will help to promote these key messages, and their work in keeping our roads in keeping our roads open, often in very challenging conditions.â€

Bill Alexander, CEO at Red Letter Days for Business, comments: “Amey’s winter driving campaign is a great idea to encourage drivers to prepare for the winter ahead. We’re thrilled to be involved in such a great campaign and hope our memorable driving experience encourages as many motorists’ as possible to get involved.â€


Winter driving tips

Before setting off:
• Ask yourself if the journey is really necessary.
• Allow time to prepare the car; make sure all windows and mirrors are free from ice and snow and the heater has de-misted the inside.
• Check the lights and wipers are in good working order.
• Check the tyres are in good condition.
• Carry ice scrapers and de-icer. It’s also worth carrying a mobile phone with a fully charged battery, a torch, first-aid kit, tow rope, blankets, warm coat and boots, jump leads, snow shovel, warning triangle, and an old sack or rug (to put under the wheels if you do get stuck).

When driving:
• SLOW DOWN. Ice can still be present, even on a gritted route.
• Remember stopping distances can be up to ten times further in icy conditions.
• Always apply brakes gently. Release them and depress clutch if the car skids
• Manoeuvre carefully and gently.
• Select second gear when pulling away, easing your foot off the clutch gently to avoid wheel-spin.
• If you do get stuck, straighten the steering and clear the snow from the wheels. Put a sack or old rug in front of the driving wheels to give the tyres some grip. Once on the move again, try not to stop until you reach firmer ground.
• If you find yourself behind a gritter, please keep a safe distance behind it and be patient. DO NOT try to overtake.
• Listen to local radio stations to check road conditions.
• If you need to abandon your car, try to position the vehicle in a location that allows gritters and other road users to pass.

Notes to Editors

• In 2010, Amey won the Birmingham Highways Maintenance and Management Service contract to manage and maintain the city’s roads over the next 25 years. The contract will see a huge investment into the city’s road network and Amey is working in partnership with Birmingham City Council to deliver the contract. The works include refurbishment and improvement of the city’s roads, footways, bridges, tunnels, street lighting and traffic control systems. 

• Amey is a leading UK public and regulated services provider with over 21,000 employees.

• Amey operates over 320 contracts, providing an unrivalled range of services including utilities, highways, waste management, rail, justice solutions, social housing and facilities management. Services are underpinned by our leading consulting and asset management capabilities, which allow us to offer stand-alone or integrated service solutions to a range of clients.

For more information contact Lara Thorns on 07843 368954, email

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