Why you rarely see line marking being done in the winter
Road markings fade over time due to weather and tyre erosion and need to be refreshed to ensure they’re visible and to maintain the safety of all road users.
But you may have noticed, especially if you’ve been driving for many years, that most line marking tends to be done in the warmer months - especially here in the UK!
And much as you’d struggle to paint a masterpiece on a damp canvas, the same applies to line markings on our roads.
Applying road markings in the winter
Winter is a challenging time to carry out any road maintenance in the UK as regular rain showers and cold temperatures mean that road surfaces are nearly constantly damp.
Road paint can typically only be applied onto a dry surface, and then needs time to dry itself before the road can be released back to traffic.
Even if there’s a sunny but cold dry spell for a few days, moisture in the air, morning frosts and below-freezing temperatures can affect the quality of fresh road markings as it influences how the paint bonds to the road surface. The paint becomes diluted and will likely not last as long, and be less reflective for road users.
But that doesn’t mean that line marking paint jobs can’t take place, especially in urgent projects where they’re needed for safety - particularly for smaller jobs.
Read more: Current road marking products exceeding National Highways’ technical standards
Tents can be used to help keep the road surface dry whilst line marking contractors will also be equipped with a damp meter to check if the road surface is too damp or not. And the drying process can be speeded up by the use of a line marking gas torch. Road marking contractors will also work around the weather, which can mean jobs will take longer than they would in the summer, but can at least still get done!
One line marking job that isn’t affected by the seasons though is the removal of line markings as hydro blasting is the predominant technique to remove no-longer-needed markings.