AS PARTS of Britain are blasted on two fronts by the ‘Beast from the East’ and Storm Emma, areas of South West England, Wales and Scotland have been issued with the most severe red weather warning, by the Met Office.
Snow, strong winds, snow drifts and freezing rain are playing havoc with the UK’s roads and rail network. The that many roads are likely to become blocked by deep snow, stranding vehicles, drivers and and passengers.
It’s important drivers who do venture out onto the roads are fully prepared for the worst-case scenario – getting stuck in the snow. Knowing how to act safely in such situations is key to ensuring the severe winter snap doesn’t end in disaster.
Follow these steps to stay safe during the snowpocalypse.
1. Do you have to travel?
With red warnings issued by the Met Office for parts of the country, including South West England, Wales and Scotland, there is a risk to life in certain parts of the UK. So before you venture outdoors, ask yourself whether your journey is that important that it’s worth putting yourself and others at risk.
2. Pack an emergency kit in your car
If you’re driving any further than a walk from home, you need to be prepared for the worst-case scenario: getting stuck in snow in freezing temperatures. So pack an emergency kit.
For the car, fill a large box with a torch, tow rope, jump leads, shovel, some de-icer, an ice scraper and soft-headed brush or broom and some ready-mixed windscreen washer fluid with a strong dilution for winter weather. Put that lot in the boot.
Also check the condition of the car’s spare wheel and tyre and ensure you have all the tools to change a wheel, as well as a reflective warning triangle.
Please be aware Peakirk Road between Rippons Drove and Church Street, Northborough, Peterborough is impassable unless in 4×4. Please do not attempt to get through in a car, numerous vehicle towed out this morning having got stuck in snow. 1774/1147.
— BCH Road Policing (@roadpoliceBCH)
3. Be prepared to wrap up warm
For you, pack a warm winter coat, waterproof trousers, sturdy boots or wellies, an extra pair of socks, a hat, scarf and gloves, a high-visibility vest, mobile phone charging lead, drinks and some snacks. And throw in a blanket or two.
4. Tell someone where you’re going
Let friends or family know when and where you are travelling. If you end up stuck down a deserted country lane, and you forgot to charge your phone and pack a charge lead (see above) it will help if people know where to start searching for you.
5. If you get stuck
Switch on the car’s hazard warning lights. Put on the warm clothing, sturdy boots and high-visibility vest, dig out the reflective warning triangle and place it a good distance behind the car, so that traffic approaching on the same side of the road has notice of a hazard ahead.
6. Call for help
Work out where you are and call for help. Your sat nav or phone can give you your location, and friends or family can rally assistance. If you are a member of a breakdown service, call for recovery. If you aren’t, you can pay to join immediately. Bear in mind there will be delays during such extreme winter weather.
7. Is anyone passing?
Could a Good Samaritan with a 4×4 help tow you free from the snow? Or are others able to help push your car to a place of safety, so it’s not a danger to other road users? Don’t be shy; ask for help.
8. In a remote location…
Don’t leave your car. If it has plenty of fuel, you will be able to remain inside, sheltered from the winter weather and can run the engine from time to time, using the heater to warm the cabin. Try not to use all the electrical items, such as the radio, heated seats and headlights, as these could drain the battery over time.
9. If you have to sleep in the car
The most important thing is to stay warm and hydrated. Consume your drink and snacks slowly, and run the engine and heater when needed, keeping an eye on the fuel level.
10. Remember to lock the doors when asleep
For your own safety, keep the doors locked while you get some rest.