TONIGHT will see gritters out on some of Devon’s major roads for the first time this winter.

Road surface temperatures are forecast to drop close to freezing in parts of the county overnight.

Although conditions are dry, 19 of Devon’s 37 precautionary pre-salting routes will be treated due to the potential for hoar frost.

The main gritting activity will be focussed around Torridge, Mid, West and North Devon, and inland areas of East Devon.

Other parts of the county will be monitored.

Devon County Council is well prepared to keep the county moving over the coming months.

Its fleet of 37 frontline gritters is available to treat a 2,000 mile network of primary and secondary salting routes, covering around 25 per cent of the county’s highways.

Last winter, the first salting treatment was carried out on November 20 and over the course of the season around 10,000 tonnes of salt were used on Devon’s roads.

More than 60 per cent of towns and parishes in Devon have a Snow Warden in place through Devon County Council’s winter self-help scheme, providing a network of around 250 Snow Warden volunteers across the county to treat their priority routes should Devon be hit by prolonged severe weather.

More than 3,000 grit bins are also located across the county and salt bags are being placed in key areas.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management and Flood Prevention, said: “Although conditions may seem relatively mild at the moment, temperatures are starting to drop. Most of us have got used to the mild temperatures but we can’t be complacent, particularly at this time of year.

"It’s worth bearing in mind that there may be hoar frost on some of the county’s roads overnight and tomorrow morning and it may be colder this coming weekend, so I would appeal for everyone to take extra care.”

Road users are reminded of the following advice:

• Avoid overnight travel unless absolutely essential as roads will always be more hazardous at night with less traffic and colder temperatures;

• 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 and reduce your speed;

• 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;

• Listen to local radio for updates on current weather conditions.

For more information and travel advice from Devon County Council visit: or for updates on Twitter follow @DevonAlert