GRITTERS will salt the county's roads tonight for the first time this season, as temperatures look set to plummet as low as -2C.

Oxfordshire County Council announced on Twitter that it was 'officially winter' as it deployed its team of gritters, after forecasters predicted that temperatures would drop to freezing levels overnight.

ALSO READ: World first for Oxford as city launches residents' pop-up electric car charging point

The authority advised drivers to take care in case of icy conditions.

Oxford is forecast an overnight temperature of 1C but in Benson, typically one of the coldest parts of the county, the temperature is expected to dip to -2C by 6am tomorrow.

Herald Series:

Met Office forecast as of 6.20pm

Oxfordshire has a team of more than 60 staff members on standby throughout the winter, to turn out at all hours to make sure that the priority roads around the county are salted and kept as safe as possible.

The county council grits all A-roads, B-roads and some C-roads, covering 1,200 miles per gritting run.

Last year it spent more than £1.8m gritting Oxfordshire’s roads.

ALSO READ: Council opens new 'salt barn' for gritters

Paul Wilson, who manages the council’s winter operation, said: "One of the crucial things that councils check, to judge whether the gritters should go out or not, are the road surface conditions.

"We get this information from a number of weather sensors dotted around the county, which provide us with lots of information enabling our duty officers to decide whether to treat the roads or not.

"Right the way through from November to spring we take this daily decision.

"Driving down a country road in freezing or snowy conditions at 2am in dark depths of winter is no picnic."