What To Do If You’re Stuck Behind a Gritter

Driving Behind a Gritter

When the winter hits, they’re both a blessing and a curse. We don’t want to do without them, but at the same time, we don’t want to be behind them!

It’s a quite obvious assumption, but there’s most likely going to be plenty of gritter lorries on our roads all Winter. If you end up as that unlucky driver, ending up directly behind one, what exactly is the best course of action to take?

Excuse the pun, but lets get into the nitty-gritty details. (Sorry couldn’t resist!)

Create Space

Firstly the most obvious thing to do, but drop back more than you normally would if you find yourself behind a gritter lorry. The salt is distributed at quite an underrated force and has potential to do damage (however slight) to your vehicle. Don’t take the risk, and allow plenty of space between you and the gritter.

Be Cautious of the Reduced Traction

This one might be confusing, as the literal point of a gritter lorry is to give you better traction on the roads! The high concentration of grit you’re driving over can act like ball bearings almost, giving you less contact with your tyres and the road. It has the potential to reduce your steering & braking performance – just be wary of this and give extra caution to your driving.

Junctions – Still Create Space!

Gritter Lorries’ sprayers are driven by their engines, meaning that as they set off, the salt that has collected in the dispenser will be thrown over your car. Like our first point, but a bit more extreme. If you value your paintwork, make sure you leave extra space at junctions and when you’re about to become stationary!

Don’t Swerve!

When they’re approaching you coming the other way, don’t be tempted to try and avoid the spray pattern by swerving. It’s pointless – your car will inevitably get hit by the spray at this point. By swerving, you’re only putting yourself (and other road users) in unnecessary danger. The good old fashioned saying ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ is quite appropriate here!

Keep your eyes open for the warning lights

If the gritter lorries’ orange warning light and ‘spreading’ sign isn’t illuminating, they’re not distributing salt. If this is the case, its perfectly safe to follow them at a normal distance. However, they could begin distributing grit at pretty much any time, so it’s probably a good idea to follow tip #1 regardless as a rule of thumb!

Overall, just remember to remain calm and patient – best thing to do if you’re stuck behind a Gritter. Your priorities really are to not damage your car and to keep yourself (and others) safe. 

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A couple of things wrong here. Yes the spreader is driven by the engine using hydraulics, but they’re controlled via satellite navigation. Salt won’t collect in the spinner when stationary. The belts won’t dinspense salt under 10mph unless it’s been set to manual mode, in which case it’ll be spreading salt constantly, even when stationary. This is done as an emergency repair. Those on older systems not controlled via safelight just use a start / stop button, which the driver will switch off when he gets to a set of lights. Also, the Spreading signs don’t illuminate. They’re just reflective… Read more »