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Plea to take extra care as cold blast continues

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Temperatures are set to get even colder in Devon this week as the Arctic blast continues.

Gritters carried out multiple treatments on the county’s salting network over the weekend, ensuring that 2,000 miles of roads had been treated to help keep Devon moving during icy conditions.

Snow also had to be ploughed from a number of roads in northern parts of the county, including the A39 between Bucks Cross and Hartland, and the A388 at Frithelstock.

Today, around 10 schools across the county were either closed, partially closed or delayed their opening time. More information is available on the school closure webpages.

Road surface temperatures are expected to fall below -4 C and -5 C in many areas of Devon this evening and gritters will be out on all of the county’s main salting routes at 7pm tonight and 3am tomorrow morning. Secondary routes have already been treated earlier on today.

As the week progresses there is also the risk of further sleet and snow showers overnight on Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, which could cause travel disruption.

The advice remains to continue to take extra care when out and about, and to take particular care if on icy pavements.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said:

“Our gritters have been busy carrying out a number of treatments on our precautionary salting routes across the county, but it’s impossible to salt every road in the county so conditions could be hazardous, particularly on untreated routes. Footways can also be slippery so I would urge everyone to please be extremely cautious.

“Road surface temperatures are extremely cold at the moment and there’s a continued risk of more snowfall later in the week, so conditions won’t get easier any time soon. Please remember as well that in extreme cold, such as the bitter weather we’re currently experiencing, not even salting can always stop ice from forming, so if you’re driving, please take extra care and drive according to conditions.”

There are also over 3,500 grit bins located across Devon to enable communities to treat their local public roads which are not on the gritting network. If you find your grit bin is empty you can report it via our “Report It” webpages.

The County Council is reminding people of the following advice:

• Never assume a road has been salted. Remember that showers or rain will wash salt off roads leaving them prone to ice, and in extreme cold even salting will not stop ice from forming;
• Allow additional time for your journey;
• Reduce your speed and leave more space between you and the vehicle in front;
• Drive with care and according to the conditions;
• If you have vulnerable or elderly neighbours, think about how they could possibly be helped through the cold spell;
• Try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18C, particularly if you are not mobile, have long-term illness or are 65 or over. NHS Choices has more information on staying healthy during cold weather;
• Listen to local radio for updates on current weather conditions and ensure you are stocked with food and medications.

For more information and travel advice visit our winter travel webpages or for updates on Twitter follow @DevonAlert