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Travelling in difficult weather

Recent snowfall across the UK has brought much of the country to a halt, as people have been urged to travel only if absolutely necessary. However, whether you need to attempt an essential journey or can wait until the ice and snow eases up a bit, there are several sensible precautions you can take to keep yourself safe during your journey, however you choose to travel.

Drivers

Driving in wintery conditions can be very tricky and care must be taken to avoid accidents. Carry out a thorough check of your vehicle before setting out, including the oil, petrol and water levels and your tyres’ pressure and overall condition. Pack some emergency supplies in case you break down or become stranded, including extra food and water, blankets and warm clothing, a fully charged phone and a basic first aid kit. Let someone know when you are setting off and where you are travelling.

Once the worst of the weather wears off, it is a good idea to book your vehicle in for a general check-up and also look into an advanced driving course that covers driving in ice and snow if you feel anxious about tackling such conditions. Wash your vehicle as soon as you can after driving in snowy weather as the salt and grit spread on the roads could cause damage to your paintwork if left for too long.


Passengers

If you are a passenger in a taxi or public transport in wintery weather there is plenty you can do to prepare. Leave yourself extra time to get to your destination and make a plan for alternative travel if your chosen method is unavailable or runs into problems en route. Dress warmly and carry a fully charged phone and some food and drink. Make sure your shoes are appropriate for tackling snow and ice on the ground.

Remain patient with your driver, as they will be finding the route harder than normal and aggravated passengers will make their job a lot harder to complete. Some roads may be closed so they may need to find alternative ways around town. If you start to feel anxious or unwell, alert your driver as soon as possible so they can help you find medical help if required.


Pedestrians

For those attempting more local journeys, it can often be easiest to head out on foot, however care must be taken here too, as the pavements can be slippery and the temperatures rather chilly. Wrap up warm and wear solid footwear with non-slip soles to help you stay upright. Don’t carry more than you need to and opt for a rucksack to carry items, rather than a shoulder bag as this will help you keep your balance.

Try to stick to well-trodden paths and pavements that have been gritted. Use any railings or other aids to stop you slipping over as you walk. Take extra care crossing roads as vehicles may not be able to stop for you in the same way as they would in normal driving conditions and visibility will be lower too if there is snow in the air or fog.

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