They have flashing amber beacons, are 2.5 metres wide and are bright orange but last year 12 Highways England gritters were driven into in the south East of England.
Gritters weigh up to 26 tonnes and when they’re spreading salt travel at 40mph. They often travel in the middle lane of a motorway to ensure the right amount of salt is spread to all lanes.
Highways England’s national winter and severe weather leader in the south east Dominic Haydon, said:
“Although the vast majority of people support our gritter drivers by leaving a sensible distance and only passing when it’s safe to do so, we do have occasions when people misjudge the situation and end up colliding with one of our vehicles.
“We have also noticed a growing problem with driver using the hard shoulder to undertake gritters, risking a collision with stationary vehicles on the hardshoulder and causing a hazard to gritter drivers who need to exit at motorway junctions.
“During severe weather it’s really important that we keep traffic moving and our gritters are out on the network enabling us to do that.”