Posted on November 7, 2013

snow-trafficNow that the clocks have gone back, and the evenings have become darker it is clear to us all that the days of summer are long gone and that winter is fast approaching. The early morning commute to work is harder as you can see your breath in the air, and your wonder whether it’s time to put on your hat and gloves. This week saw snow fall in County Durham, an unusually early recording of this type of weather. So, as the cold weather begins to set in, so does the time to think about snow preparation and how you can minimise the impact it has on your day.

Many people enjoy the white blanket of snow that covers the ground in winter time, as it brings with it snow days, where school is cancelled, and the building of snowmen. But the snowy weather should not be taken lightly. It is important to take precautions to make sure you stay safe during the wintery weather conditions.

It seems that in our country we are not accustomed to heavy snow fall and, more often than not, the country comes to a bit of a standstill when the snow begins to fall. Other European countries such as Germany and the Scandinavian nations get heavy snowfalls annually and are able to deal with the repercussions more efficiently. With climate change affecting our weather here in the UK, it is important that we get to grips with the snow in order that we continue to function.

NESTGRITBINS_1Travelling in the snow is always difficult as there is a higher chance of accidents. The roads become wet and slippery due to the snow landing on them and so cars and lorries are more likely to skid off the road, causing major accidents. It is vital that people take more care when driving in the snow, in an attempt to try and prevent accidents. This carefulness often leads to queues of traffic, so allow yourself more time to get to where you are going. A way to stop vehicles skidding on roads is by using salt or grit to coat the roads. You will see grit bins on the streets up and down the country and these storage bins are used for keeping the salt ready for gritting the countries roads. It is important to take extra care when driving on country roads or in housing estates because these are locations where the mainstream gritter lorries may not reach.

It is not only the roads that need to be coated in salt, driveways and paths are also vulnerable. In order to leave your house or workplace you need to use the entrance pathways and driveways. To help reduce the risk of slipping on ice or snow and falling over, you can clear these areas of snow with a snow shovel and then, by using a shovel or a salt spreader, cover the area in salt. If you want to protect people from slips and falls in a larger area, perhaps if you are an industry, then you could use a snow plough to remove large areas of snow quickly.

SW50-PESPREADER_1When travelling in your car, there are some essential pieces of equipment that you should have not only in the snow, but also all year round. When conditions are hazardous then there may be traffic jams that could last for a long time. In the event of this happening, especially when temperatures are below freezing outside then having a blanket in the car can help to keep you warm, if you are stuck in your car for long periods of time. Another key item is a first aid kit, if a minor incident was to occur then you will be able to treat any small injury if you cannot reach a hospital or doctor immediately, due to heavy traffic. Finally, a third piece of useful kit is a torch. If your car has broken down at night, having a torch allows you to see outside if you need to leave your vehicle to reach the nearest phone box.

As well as wrapping up warm during the cold weather, taking these steps to ensure your safety in the snow is crucial. Clear your driveways and paths of snow to allow access and follow up by spreading salt to limit the risk of people slipping on the surface and also, be prepared in your vehicle by having a first aid kit, blanket and torch which will come in handy if stuck in queues of traffic caused by the freezing weather conditions.

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