Although referred to as ‘gritting’ it is not grit that is used on our roads, but salt. The most commonly used salt used to treat roads, pavements and car parks is called rock salt. By treating areas with salt, ice and frost is prevented from forming, and it also helps reduce the build up of snow. This is obviously very important to the public, but how does it work?
It’s actually fairly simple, and very clever. When water freezes, ice is formed. The salt spread on pavements, roads etc mixes with any moisture there, and creates a saline solution. This reduces ice forming because a saline solution freezes at a lower temperature than water. An example of this is how sea water freezes at a lower temperature than fresh water.
That’s the technical bit done, now for some helpful advice!
It’s a good idea to pay attention to the weather forecast so you’re prepared for bad weather. Road salt/grit is most effective once it has been ground down, you may have noticed gritting vehicles at work early in the evening. This is to give traffic time to drive over it before nightfall and the colder temperatures. So make sure you treat the area early enough!
Gritting will not melt snow that has already settled so try to grit in advance of any bad weather conditions. If you’ve not had time to prepare the shovels will need to come out! If the snow continues it may be worth laying some salt to try and prevent fresh snow accumulating.