PREPARE FOR TRAVEL

Image of car stuck in snow

It’s a good idea to service your car if possible or have your local garage carry out a Winter Check (checking tyres, antifreeze levels etc)

  • Keep fuel tank full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
  • Use a wintertime formula in your windshield washer.

Prepare a winter emergency kit to keep in your car in case you become stranded.

The kit should include:

  • a torch and batteries
  • mobile phone (fully charged before each journey)
  • blankets
  • bag of sand or cat litter (for traction)
  • first-aid kit
  • warn winter clothing including boots
  • ice scraper and de-icer
  • battery jump leads
  • map for any unplanned diversions
  • food and drink that will last (and a warm drink in a flask before each journey)

 

When planning to travel, be aware of current and forecast weather conditions.

  • Avoid travelling when weather warnings are issued.
  • If you must travel, inform a friend or relative of your proposed route and expected time of arrival.
  • Check your emergency kit.

Image of car driving through snowy landscape.

Driving Through Ice and Snow

  • Your stopping distance increases ten times when driving in snow and ice.
  • Select second gear when pulling away, easing your foot off the clutch gently to avoid wheel-spin
  • It’s not always obvious that the road’s icy – look for clues like ice on the pavement or on your windscreen.
  • Don’t brake too hard – it’ll just lock up your wheels and make you skid further
  • Clear any snow on the roof of the vehicle before you drive off, as it can slip down over the windscreen and obscure your view.
  • Look out for winter service vehicles spreading salt or using snow ploughs.

 

Follow these safety rules if you become stranded in a remote area:

  • Move anything you need from boot into the passenger area.  Stay with your car unless safety is no more than 100 yards away.
  • Keep your body warm.  Wrap up in warm blankets
  • Keep your hands and feet moving to improve circulation and stay warmer if you can
  • Run the engine (and heater) for about 10 minutes per hour, opening one window slightly to let in air.  Make sure that snow is not blocking the exhaust pipe to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning

Image of girl in wheelchair

If you travel in a wheelchair, wrap a small blanket around your legs, tucking it underneath yourself or around your sides. This will help to maintain body heat. Wheelchair users may consider purchasing pneumatic tyres for better traction. Another alternative is to use standard dirt bicycle tyres.

Use table salt or clay cat litter to clear ramps – rock salt can poison working assistance animals and also may be slippery.

Remove the tyres from your wheelchair and shake debris and ice off them before placing them in your vehicle.

Wipe down any metal surfaces (wheelchair tyre rims, walkers, etc.) as soon as possible after returning home.  This will prevent rusting.

If you are a wheelchair user and unaccustomed to heavy, strenuous wheeling, be very careful when traveling through snow. The added exertion could lead to health complications.

Freezing rain also will stick to surfaces such as canes, walkers, forearm cuffs and wheelchairs. Use gripper driving gloves to keep your hands warm and to prevent slipping.

If you use a working assistance dog, remember that dogs also can suffer from hypothermia and frostbite. Get a dog coat to place under the harness.  Also, have a blanket in your vehicle for the dog.