Drivers warned of ‘dangerous’ melting roads as gritters sent out to ‘trouble spots’

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Somerset County Council announced its teams would be out and about to treat roads affected by the extreme temperatures. To remedy the problem, two 18-tonne gritters will be used to spread stone dust on melting and sticky roads.

This will be in addition to HGV drivers who are on standby to ensure traffic delays remain at a minimum.

The stone dust absorbs the soft bitumen on the road and helps to stabilise the surface.

Somerset’s Executive Lead Member for Transport and Digital, Cllr Mike Rigby, said the council was monitoring the situation carefully.

He added: “Our teams are prepared and ready to head out to any trouble spots so they can be dealt with swiftly.

“If you do spot a problem please do call our contact centre immediately.”

The rate at which roads melt will differ, with various types of asphalt or tarmac being used, with most starting to see softening at around 50 degrees.

While temperatures won’t reach that high, under direct sunlight, roads will measure hotter than the temperature of the air.

When air temperatures are 25 degrees, tarmac in the sun has been measured at 51 degrees.

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This comes as Tour de France organisers are preparing to use tens of thousands of litres of cold water on a route which could reach as high as 63 degrees.

In certain places, organisers and fire brigades may be required to mobilise to keep the track safe for those taking part.

Some of the riders have commented on the heat, calling certain stages of the track a “furnace”, adding that it was “horrible”.

With the risk of roads melting, road resurfacing may need to be done on a more frequent basis.

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With extreme weather becoming more common, potholes and other cracks in the road may begin to appear.

The Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) stated that 1.7 million potholes were filled by councils across England and Wales in 2021.

A new survey from RED Driving School found that nearly two-thirds of respondents claimed that they would be scared about how a pothole would impact their vehicle. 

Although the majority of the UK’s learner drivers are fearful about potholes, almost half of learner drivers admitted that they wouldn’t consider stopping to perform any checks on their vehicle immediately after hitting a pothole. 

Around 32 percent of motoring said they would perform checks on arrival of their planned destination after driving over a pothole.

A small portion of respondents (four percent) said they would completely ignore the fact that they had hit a pothole.

This demonstrates a lack of awareness of the potential severity of hitting a pothole.   

Ian Fido, Head of Training at RED Driving School states: “In all cases of road obstructions– and certainly while in a test environment –we suggest following the MSPSL routine.

“Checking mirrors. Signal if required. Position the car early. Slow down. Look to negotiate the problem, to return safely to a normal road position as soon as practically possible.”

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