Getting out and about in winter


Snow Code: Clearing snow and ice from pavements yourself

Anyone can clear snow and ice from the pavement outside their home or public spaces to prevent slips and falls. 

  1. Clear the snow and ice early in the day. It's easier to move fresh, loose snow than hard snow which has been packed together from people walking on it. Also, removing the top layer of snow will help the sun melt any ice beneath. 
  2. Use salt or sand - not water. Using water to melt snow may refreeze, turn to black ice and be more dangerous. Spreading salt helps melt snow and prevent black ice. You can use a tablespoon of ordinary table or dishwasher salt to every square meter of ground. Don't use salt found in salting bins - this will be needed to keep roads clear. If you don’t have enough salt, you can also use sand or ash. These won't stop the path icing over as effectively as salt, but will provide good grip underfoot.
  3. Take care when you move the snow. When you're shovelling snow, make sure you don't put it anywhere it could block people's paths or drains. Make a path down the middle of the area to be cleared first, so you have a clear surface to walk on. Then shovel the snow from the centre of the path to the sides.
  4. Offer to clear your neighbours' paths. If your neighbour will have difficulty getting in and out of their home, offer to clear snow and ice around their property as well. Check that any elderly or disabled neighbours are alright in the cold weather.

How to drive safely in extreme weather

Make sure you don't get caught out when severe weather strikes. Be prepared!

If you're going to be driving over winter, here are some top tips to help prevent you from being caught out:

  • Check and service your vehicle
  • Top up anti-freeze and screen wash
  • Check your wiper blades - replace them when they start to smear.
  • Check your battery. Is it fully charged? Is it reliable? Batteries last between two and four years. Consider replacing them.
  • Check your tyres. Do you have 3mm of tread? Is the tyre pressure at the manufacturer's recommended level?
  • Check your headlamps. Are they clean? Are all the bulbs working?
  • Carry an emergency kit. This should include:
    • map
    • jump leads for the car battery
    • torch
    • warning triangle
    • ice scraper and de-icer
    • first aid kit
    • warm clothes, boots and a blanket
    • shovel
    • any medication you need to take regularly
    • food and a thermos with a hot drink.
  • Plan your journey and check weather and travel advice. Do you need to travel? Can you delay your journey?
  • Drive to suit the conditions. On slippery roads, it can take up to ten times longer to stop - reduce your speed and drive carefully, even if roads have been gritted.
  • Read: Driving in adverse weather conditions (Highway Code)
  • Listen to your local radio station for travel and weather news.

Useful information for travelling in the snow and ice

Get more information on the Highways Agency's website.

  • Check live traffic information online or by calling the Highways Agency live traffic information service on 08700 660 115 (England only) - be prepared to delay your journey or change your route.

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