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Brussels starts salting roads as snowfall begins further south

21:12 06/12/2022

The Brussels region is preparing for winter, having conducted the first preventative spraying of roads to protect against snow and ice over the weekend, according to Brussels Mobility.

Temperatures are dropping in Belgium, and parts of Wallonia have already seen their first snow.

In preparation of freezing or slippery conditions, more than 800km of Brussels roads were treated with salt that amounted to a total of 85 tonnes. This covers all regional roads, including major junctions and tunnels.

Those stocks of salt are full, given the mild winters of previous years. At one section of the ring road that passes through Anderlecht, which is particularly sensitive to humidity and cold, a weather station has been installed to precisely measure ground conditions.

The first snows of Belgium have already fallen in the south of country, including in Liège where public transit was severely disrupted.

Walloon public transit service TEC announced that their bad weather plan has been activated and level 3 was decreed.

“This is already an important level,” explained TEC LIège Verviers spokesperson Isabelle Tasset, explaining that it indicates 18 lines are completely cancelled.

The snowfall was heavier than expected – multiple trucks reported difficulty on several routes, and some forms of waste collection were delayed or postponed.

Authorities reported that some motorists were engaging in unsafe behaviour on the road, including illegally overtaking the salting trucks and snow ploughs in the right lane, seemingly unaware of the “the mass of snow that ploughs send to their right”.

Brussels has yet to see the same snowfall as these places in Wallonia, but authorities cautioned against slippery conditions.

Police have offered a number of tips for drivers who need to be on the road during such conditions, including slowing down; increasing the distance between yourself and the car in front of you; using winter tires and ensuring headlights, tail lights and windshield wipers are in working order and keeping an ice scraper in the car; downshifting instead of braking in manual cars; braking earlier than you’d expect to need to; adopting a softer, more careful driving style and staying calm in the event of hydroplaning or skidding.

“Do not make any sudden manoeuvres, do not accelerate or brake,” police warned.

“Look in the direction you want to go rather than the direction you want to avoid. The eyes guide the steering wheel. It is therefore better to look at the exit of the bend than at the tree along the road.”

Lastly, authorities advise people to avoid driving at all during poor conditions to whatever extent is possible.

Written by Helen Lyons