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Winter Driving

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Being a soon to be new addition to the Area I am wondering about driving to and from work - Lerwick to Sullom Voe..


Do the roads freeze up much in the winter and if they do what time do the council usually start gritting and do the any of the companies in the Sullom direction contribute or help out with the gritting to ensure the safe passage of workers?


Do many people put on winter tyres? I have a VW transporter t4, would that be good in such weather or would i be better with a car or 4x4?


thanks all

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The council grit between 6 am and 6 pm if conditions merit. They frequently grit in the afternoon even if it isn't freeezing if there is a forecast of frost.


The SIC Winter Maintenance policy is here




And you can check road conditions online here



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it is can get really nasty. the gritters do a really good job. but learn or refresh on how to drive in snow. winter tyres are advisable a 4x4 if you really can't miss the odd shift. its a priority route so should normally be ok.


however it can come down quick then the route via brae is better than the mossbank route.


just listern to the sibc news and be sensible very slow and careful driving. drifting id the problem. and rain onto frozen ground catch lots out each winter.

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If you can affford winter/studded tyres I'd say it would be a very good idea. We tend to get a lot of mornings where there's icy roads and with the sun rising so late in the morning it can be after 9am before the sun starts hitting the roads.


Could I give you another piece of advice?. Please, please use your dipped headlights as much as possible. Personally I just switch mine on the minute I start my car and leave them on. People don't seem to grasp that it's about being seen rather than seeing.


Frankly there should be a by-law for mandatory dipped headlights 24/7 during winter but until that comes all we can do is flash our lights at the numpties who drive in the dark/dusk with not so much as a sidelight on(they're no use anyway).

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Studded tyres are overkill unless you're driving constantly on compacted snow and ice and on Shetland you won't be. When there is no snow or ice you'll need to change the tyre immediately or damage the bitmac on the road.


Set of decent winter tyres is a good idea, they work better in temperatures below 7 degrees than normal tyres do and in Shetland that may be a good chunk of the winter.

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No need for studded tyres at all running from Lerwick to Sullom, complete overkill, it is a well maintained A road that any council in Southern England would be proud to have on their patch .


If you can drive over Exmoor on A roads on an average winters day then you'll have no problems at all.


Getting snowed up is a rarity - less of a chance than you'd get around Exmoor or Dartmoor. But the roads are quieter, so the chances of driving on fresh stuff or ice are probably a little greater.


4X4? Waste of space for about 51 1/2 weeks of the year unless you have other uses for it.


Don't listen to the bullpoopers who will have you believe that the winters are worse than what Soothies experience - it's the wind that is harsher up here, not the snow and ice. We get off lightly compared to most of Scotchland or North Engurland.


PM me if you need to.

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Fair comment about the studded tyres but I do feel that, over-all, winter in Shetland is much harsher than sooth.


I remember a few years ago I/we left Shetland heading for Weston Super Mare in November.


It was actually snowing when we left Shetland but when we reached England and WSM it was a lovely hairst(autumn) day with all the leaves still on the trees!.

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Certainly Shetland has some rough weather, Kavi, but overall the amount of snow and ice is less than that experienced in a fair old lump of the UK.

Kent and Aberdeenshire are notorious for getting pasted with snow whilst the rest of the UK can remain completely untouched, inland temps can keep ice hanging around for days.


I suppose what I'm saying is that given its Lat at 60N, Shetland is relatively mild compared to a lot of the UK.

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It is subjective who has the worst weather, I know from my own experience that when I drive the gritter in Colne, it tends to be every day of the rotor JAN and FEB with ploughs out day and night much of the time. Last year, to keep my route clear, I used over 1500 tonnes of salt and had the plough fixed about 20 times, after that, would then assist the snow blower, that ran every day for about 3 weeks. We lost 2 gritters in the white outs and had to rescue them some days later. My route is 90 km long.


The main reason roads became blocked was due to the drivers who thought they could get through and could not, abandoning their vehicles, we had several occasions where that happened, with out them, the roads could have been cleared.


Think of others when you drive.


Pedestrians too need to take care, last season a young man died because he though he could walk the last 700 yards home after the taxi could not go any further.

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