6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Devon Life today click here

A day in a Devon life: Roads gritter Jason Tetley

PUBLISHED: 11:43 23 February 2016 | UPDATED: 11:43 23 February 2016

Jason Tetley: 'I think the public dont always understand that weve been out at 2am with the snow coming down and ice all over the roads'

Jason Tetley: 'I think the public dont always understand that weve been out at 2am with the snow coming down and ice all over the roads'

Matt Austin _

In the latest of her series through 2016, Kate Haskell celebrates the people that make Devon work. This month: roads gritter Jason Tetley

As you snuggle down under that warm duvet on a cold winter’s night when the forecast suggests that the mercury is dropping, you may just have a passing thought of what the roads might be like as you head out the next morning.

Well, whilst you’re having that thought, spare a moment to think of Jason Tetley and his crew because they are the ones making sure that most of the 8,000 miles of Devon roads are safe for you to use. At 1pm each day during the winter season Jason, the winter maintenance manager for South West Highways who are the current contractor for Devon County Council, will get together with the Met Office and Devon County Council and each will assess the needs for the next day and then Jason leaps into action making sure the team are ready to go and the gritters are in the right place at the right time. This is a job Jason has done for the past six years but before that he was your man out in the big gritting lorries working through the night for four years. He recalls: “It was hectic and dangerous and you have to be vigilant but it is also fun and I got a real sense of achievement making sure the roads are clear for the next day.”

Now though he is the man in charge and by all accounts it is a mammoth task. Jason tells me: “It takes up all my time from the middle of August onwards, first making sure that we have everything ready to go for the start of the season, which is 14 October, including making sure we have enough salt which currently amounts to 26,000 tons distributed around 13 depots.

“The next challenge is making sure over 170 pieces of plant machinery, from gritters to snow ploughs, are in the right depots at the right time!”

Unlike some management jobs Jason’s responsibility is by no means a 9-5; he is on call 24 hours a day over the winter and has been known to be up at 2am organising the team when the temperatures keep dropping.

Driving the gritting lorries is no easy task either as Jason explains: “It is a dangerous job where serious accidents occur, black ice is a big problem and despite their size we have had big lorries go over and the team are working 7pm-7am.”

It is impracticable to salt the entire county road network in freezing conditions so salting priorities have to be identified comprising the major routes where the majority of vehicle movements take place and also access to hospitals, ambulance and fire stations, other emergency service establishments and secondary schools.

During severe weather, such as prolonged freezing or significant snowfalls, other routes on the Devon road network are treated or cleared on a priority basis.

If we’re honest though we’ve all had a little moan during the winter when we either get stuck behind a gritting lorry or feel that the roads haven’t been cleared in time and understandably Jason says he can feel a bit despondent about that: “I think the public don’t always understand that we’ve been out at 2am with the snow coming down and ice all over the roads. We do our very best but to hear people moaning the next day can be disheartening.”

Jason though clearly loves his job and the fact he can do it in Devon, having lived here for 25 years and brought up his family here he can’t imagine living anywhere else or doing any other job: “I thoroughly enjoy keeping Devon’s roads safe.”

So on our cold and icy mornings take care and be thankful that Jason and his team have been watching over you. w

On the roads

Devon has more roads than any other highway authority.

The county has 8,000 miles of roads of which 1,655 miles are pre-salted.

Crucial to the control of winter service and emergency operations is Devon County Council’s Highway Operations Control Centre from where conditions are continuously monitored so that action can be initiated at the appropriate time.

Devon owns 3,300 bridges, of which 3,000 bridges are crossing water.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Devon Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Devon Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Devon Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from People

Mon, 09:06

David J Williams looks back at an era when thousands flocked to watch football players at Plymouth’s Home Park…but it wasn’t the men they were cheering on

Read more
Friday, June 15, 2018

51-year-old Neil Witt will be attempting to break the world record on June 21 in support of Hospiscare and Cancer Research UK

Read more
Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Every month Lydia Tewkesbury heads to one of Devon’s many beautiful locations to see how you can best spend a day out. This month she headed to Teignmouth

Read more
Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Teenager Liam Landymore credits his beloved pet Charlie with saving his life. Chrissy Harris meets a dog and his owner using their extraordinary bond to help others... Photos: Steve Haywood

Read more
Tuesday, June 5, 2018

This month marks a milestone for Riverford Organic Farmers, the multi-million pound organic veg box company, as its owner hands over ownership to its staff | Words: Catherine Courtenay  Pictures: Matt Austin

Read more
Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Change is in the air in Torbay. With an influx of big plans, bright minds and cash investment, this beautiful corner of Devon has the chance to shine once again. Chrissy Harris finds out more

Read more
Tuesday, May 29, 2018

In the latest in her series throughout 2018 profiling inspirational women, KATE HASKELL talks to Temporary Chief Superintendent for Devon, Sam De Reya

Read more
Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The revival of a Devon town’s cider making heritage was all down to a ‘beautiful accident’, discovers CATHERINE COURTENAY as she chats to Barny Butterfield. Pictures: Matt Austin

Read more
Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Devon has produced some of the world’s best talent when it comes to film, music, sport, TV or pretty much any other field you can think of. Here are 18 celebrities that have shaped popular culture in their own unique way

Read more
Monday, May 21, 2018

A former personal banker was on maternity leave when she discovered a hidden talent for turning cakes into astonishing works of art. Words: Chrissy Harris | Photos: Steven Haywood

Read more
Thursday, May 17, 2018

DAVID FITZGERALD talks to the man who has never left Devon far from his view during a wide-ranging and controversial career in film

Read more
Monday, May 14, 2018

Former medic for the Special Boat Service, Steel Johnson from Plymouth, has swapped the Royal Marines for magic. This is his story, writes Fran McElhone

Read more
Tuesday, May 8, 2018

This month a true Exeter Chiefs legend will bring down the curtain on his illustrious playing career…but it’s not the end of his journey at Sandy Park, as JAMES CHUBB discovers

Read more
Tuesday, May 1, 2018

From the deserts of Egypt to the beaches of North Devon, there’s a new face at the helm of a Devon art gallery and museum, as CATHERINE COURTENAY discovers

Read more
A+ South & South West
Great British Holidays advert link
Pure Weddings advert link
South West Life advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Devon's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area

Property Search