It has been a fairly mild November so far – but as soon as the frosty nights and any snow arrives, Highways England’s teams of specially trained gritter drivers will be out on the motorways and major A-roads to help keep traffic moving.
One of its teams will cover a 174-mile area that includes the North East and parts of North Yorkshire.
There are five gritters and a snow blower at the depot in Lionheart Enterprise Park, Alnwick. Highways England moved to a bigger site at the industrial estate last year.
When required, they will either go north on the A1 up to the Scottish border or south to the turn-off for the A19 at Seaton Burn.
And when the time comes, motorists are being urged to give these vehicles the space they need to work to avoid any risk of driving into them.
A plough will be attached to the front of the gritters if snow needs to be cleared.
The organisation receives specific forecasts for its road network from the Met Office at noon and 6pm, although there are updates if there are any major changes in-between those times.
These are very detailed and teams have access to radar pictures, which is particularly useful to see the direction snow is coming from.
In the video, Gordon Thackeray, winter manager for Highways England in the North East, discusses the winter ahead and advises drivers to stay behind gritters.
More information and pictures will be in tomorrow's paper.