02 October 2023

Top tips for staying safe in winter

Although considering the following recommendations and taking action to prepare for winter may appear excessive, bad weather can strike without much warning, and being prepared may just ease a difficult situation or even prevent serious injury or worse.

Prepare yourself for winter

Make sure you wear appropriate outdoor clothing consisting such asof a wind-resistant coat or jacket,
inner layers of light, warm clothing with mittens, hat, scarf and waterproof boots. Shoes and boots need to fit properly and have soles with good traction. Snow boots or hiking boots will provide the best protection for the worst types of weather.

When the rain and snow start to fall, so do people! There are a number of reasons why fall and trip accidents increase in the Autumn and winter: There is less daylight, leaves fall onto paths, making them slippery and wet, and cold weather makes ice and snow accumulate on paths.

Ice Watch

So, if you have somewhere to be, avoid the potential to slip up by leaving early. Falls are more likely to happen when you’re in a rush. Allow yourself plenty of time to get to where you’re going.

On icy or slippery ground, walk like a penguin, take short steps and walk as flat-footed as possible. Keep your hands free. You’ll need them to help you balance, so avoid carrying heavy loads and keep those hands out of your pockets.

Some people are more vulnerable to the effects of cold weather. This includes:
• people aged 65 and older
• babies and children under the age of 5
• people on a low income (so cannot afford heating)
• people who have a long-term health condition
• people with a disability
• pregnant women
• people who have a mental health condition


Prepare your home

Prepare your home to help protect yourself and your family from any potential damage the cold temperatures and snow may bring.

Check your heating systems – keeping warm over the winter months can help to prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression. Heat your home to a temperature that’s comfortable for you. If you can, this should be at least 18°C in the rooms that you regularly use. Check your heating and cooking appliances are safe. Contact a Gas Safe registered engineer to make sure they’re working properly. Make sure you’re getting all the help that you’re entitled to. There are grants, benefits and advice available to make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating or help with bills.

Clean out chimneys and fireplaces and closely monitor any burning fires or candles.

If you have exterior lights on your home, use them to help see where you’re walking at night.

Check your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. Carbon monoxide detectors save lives. Every year, over 400 people die and 50,000 are treated for carbon monoxide poisoning.

The most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are often described as “flu-like” – headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain and confusion.

Work slowly and carefully to remove ice and snow from cars, walkways and driveways to prevent slips and falls and sprinkle grit, cat litter or sand on icy patches.

Keep an emergency kit in your home that includes a torch, extra batteries, a first-aid kit, extra medicine, and if necessary, baby items.

If you lose power, your kit should also include food and water for three days for each family member, warm clothing if you have to leave, and toys and games for children.

Prepare your car

Is your car ready for winter travel?

You should check your tires and replace them with all-weather or snow tires, if necessary. Keep your tank full to prevent ice from getting in the tank and fuel lines and to prepare for any unexpected longer journey times.

Use a wintertime fluid in your window screen wash and make an emergency kit to keep in your car. Include water, snacks, a first-aid kit, blankets, a torch, extra batteries and a portable phone charger.

Drive safely

Only drive in severe wintery conditions if you really have to. When skidding in icy conditions steer in the direction of a skid, so when your wheels regain traction, you don’t have to overcorrect to stay in your lane.

Accelerate and decelerate slowly, increase your following distance and avoid using cruise control.


Keep a charged phone with you

Your mobile can help with any emergency you may come across walking, driving, or playing in the snow. It’s important to keep a charged phone with you or anyone you are out with, so you can call for help if anything were to happen!

Be prepared for winter with Ice Watch
Whether the UK experiences another Beast from the East this year or a typical British blizzard, organisations partnering with Ice Watch needn’t worry. If the weather is atrocious the gritters will act on a highly accurate forecast, based on actual ground temperatures to treat car parks, drives and cycleways. Contact the Ice Watch team today on 0800 232 1994 or contact us to prepare your winter maintenance strategy.

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