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Winter weather

Cold and winter weather is a regular risk in the UK. Severe weather can happen quickly, and can cause major disruption to homes, families and communities. It is important that you are prepared for any cold weather, particularly in the months of December to February.

Before snow or ice

  • Make sure you have warm clothes, food, water, boots, torch and a spade in your vehicle.
  • Let someone know when you expect to arrive and your planned route.
  • Try to wait until the roads have been gritted before travelling.
  • Purchase some salt/grit to put on paths and driveways to lessen the risk of slipping on compacted snow.

During snow or ice

Avoid travel if possible. If you must travel, check the Highway Code for advice on driving in winter conditions. Use major roads if possible as there more likely to be treated and check highways agency website before travelling.

A summary of the advice is:

  • motorists should keep well back from the vehicle in front
  • slow down and allow extra time to carry out manoeuvres
  • if steering becomes unresponsive it may mean water is preventing the tyres from gripping the road. Ease off the accelerator and slow down gradually
  • rain and spray from vehicles may make it difficult to see and be seen, so motorists should reduce their speed and clearly indicate at roundabouts and junctions.

View the winter driving advice page for more information on winter driving.

Look after yourself

If you go outside wear several layers of thin clothing and keep dry to prevent loss of body heat. Visit the NHS website for signs of hypothermia. Signs are: 

  • uncontrollable shivering
  • slow/slurred speech
  • memory lapse, drowsiness
  • loss of feeling in and pale appearance of fingers, toes, nose and ear lobes.

Visit the NHS website for more on hypothermia and good practice when feeling the above symptoms.

View our being prepared for the winter section for more ways on how to be prepared for winter.

Last updated: 03/05/2022 15:00