Are you Prepared? Snow and Ice on the Roads

Snow and ice cause significant disruption in the UK when it arrives. Take a look at this guide for some hints and tips about staying safe on the roads.

Driving in the Snow and Ice

The Met Office has issued weather warnings for various locations across the UK due to a large amount of snow and ice that has arrived or is forecast to arrive in the next week. A primary concern during this adverse weather is commuting safely and you should adjust your driving to suit the conditions. 

Black ice isn't always visible and can be an even greater hazard for both motorists and pedestrians. Black ice can form when rain or drizzle falls on a road surface that is at a temperature below 0 degrees Celsius.

As the Met Office has issued warnings for snow and ice, here are some tips and hints to make sure you are prepared and ensure your safety. 

Before a Snow or Ice Storm

Update the emergency kit in your vehicle with the following:

1. Windscreen Scraper and small brush

2. Water 3. A Torch 4. Battery-Powered Radio

5. Spare Batteries and Portable Phone Charger

6. Non-perishable snack food 7. Extra Winter Clothing and Boots 8. First Aid kit with Pocket Knife

9. Necessary Medications

10. Blankets 11. Tow Chain or Rope 12. Booster Cables
During a Snow or Ice Storm
  1. Avoid travel if possible.
  1. If you must travel, check the Highway Code Guide: Driving in Adverse Weather Conditions for advice on driving in snow and icy weather. Advice includes the following:

o Take care around gritters.

o Do not be tempted to overtake other vehicles.

o Slow down—it can take 10 times longer to stop in snowy or icy conditions.

o Use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin.

o Manoeuvre gently and avoid harsh braking and acceleration.

o If skidding, gently ease off the accelerator and avoid braking. If braking is necessary, pump the brakes,
don’t slam on them.

  1. If trapped in a vehicle:

o Pull off the roadway. Turn on the hazard lights and hang something brightly coloured from the aerial.

o Remain in your vehicle where rescuers are most likely to find you. Do not set out on foot unless you
can see a building close by where you know you can take shelter. Be careful—distances are distorted
by blowing snow. A building may seem close, but be too far to walk to in deep snow.

o Run the engine and heater for about 10 minutes every hour to keep warm. When the engine is
running, open a downwind window slightly for ventilation and periodically clear snow from the
exhaust pipe. This will protect you from carbon monoxide poisoning.

o Exercise to maintain your body heat, but avoid overexertion. In extreme cold, use road maps, seat
covers and floor mats for insulation. Huddle with passengers and use your coat for a blanket.

o Take turns sleeping. One person should be awake at all times to look for rescue crews.

o Eat regularly and drink enough fluids to avoid dehydration—but avoid caffeine and alcohol.

o Be careful not to waste battery power. Balance electrical energy needs—the use of lights, heat and
radio—with supply.

o Turn on the inside light at night or when it’s dark so work crews or rescuers can see you.

o If stranded in a remote area, stomp large block letters in an open area spelling out HELP or SOS and
line with rocks or tree limbs to attract the attention of rescue personnel who may be surveying the
area by air.

o Leave the car and proceed on foot, if necessary, once the storm passes.

  1. If you go outside, wear several layers of clothing and stay dry to prevent loss of body heat.
  1. Watch for signs of hypothermia, including uncontrollable shivering, slurred speech, memory lapse,
    drowsiness and frostbite. Keep your arms and legs moving to help blood circulate.
After a Snow or Ice Storm
  1. Exercise extreme caution when driving or walking on compacted snow—it may have turned to ice.
  1. Take extra care when shovelling snow. Cold air makes it harder to work and breathe, which can add extra strain on the body.

Stay safe when severe weather strikes by being prepared and checking weather forecasts and warnings.