We've put together a few frequently asked questions about gritting.
Which roads do you grit?
We usually treat all major roads plus bus routes, busy roads, and other important routes, such as roads serving hospitals and bus stations, at the same time.
Here you can see a map of our gritting routes courtesy of the very nice people at Mappa Mercia.
We do not grit side roads or pavements except in exceptional circumstances when the weather is very bad. If we think it is necessary to treat minor roads and pavements, we will do this after the main roads have been gritted.
How can I find out if the gritters are out?
You can easily keep up to date with our gritters using social media.
Want to find out if the gritters are on the road? Need updates on school closures and weather forecasts? Follow @sandwellcouncil on Twitter. During bad weather we'll be using the #wmgrit hashtag.
Join us on Facebook
Follow us on the Sandwell Facebook page to find out when our gritting crews are out and for information on how frosty or snowy weather is affecting Sandwell.
You can also see live gritting and winter weather updates from us and other West Midlands councils.
How do you decide when to send the gritters out?
During the winter we monitor road conditions and weather forecasts around the clock. Our aim is to treat the main roads and other important routes before the ice or snow comes.
We have sensors embedded in the road to check the temperatures and receive updated weather forecasts throughout the day and night.
Do you grit pavements?
Only in very severe weather conditions, such as when we have snow or ice for several days. We will treat as many pavements as we can, starting with town centres, outside shops and other busy pedestrian areas.
Do you provide grit bins?
We do put yellow grit bins around the borough for members of the public to use on roads and pavements. The grit in these yellow bins must only be used on the roads and pavements - it is not for use on private property such as driveways.
Can I have a grit bin for my street?
If you think your road needs a grit bin, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0845 359 7518 and we will look into it.
Can a grit bin be removed?
Grit bins can sometimes attract anti-social behaviour. If this becomes an unbearable nuisance, you can request that the bin is removed. This would have to be agreed by other residents in the area.
What is grit made of?
Although most of us call it "grit", what we actually spread on the road is mined rock salt (Sodium Chloride).
We sometimes mix the rock salt with molasses (a sticky, sugary liquid) which helps the grit to stick to the road.
How effective is gritting in very cold temperatures?
Water freezes at 0°C, and salt prevents water from freezing until -6°C to -8°C. The salt starts to become less effective at -5°C and almost ineffective at lower temperatures.
To work effectively, the layer of salt needs cars and other vehicles to drive over it to help it spread.
When we have very heavy snow, it is difficult for any amount of grit to work properly because of the lack of vehicles on the road.
- Find out more about why, when and how we grit by reading about the
science of gritting.
- Find out if there are any severe weather warnings from the Met Office.
Contact us about winter gritting
If you have any further questions about gritting, please email email@example.com or call us on 0845 359 7518.
Become a Snow Champion
Find out about our Snow Champions campaign.
School closures during bad weather
If it's snowing or very icy some schools may be closed - find out how to check the latest information on school closures.