Before snow or ice
- If you have to make a journey when snow is
forecast, make sure you have warm clothes, food, water, boots, a
torch and spade, and let someone know when you expect to arrive and
your route. Try to wait until the roads have been gritted before
- Put grit or cat litter on paths and driveways
to lessen the risk of slipping on compacted snow.
- Check on vulnerable neighbours.
During snow or ice
- Avoid travel if possible.
- If you must drive check the
Highway Code for advice on driving in ice and snowy weather. A
summary of the advice is: Take care around gritters. Don't be
tempted to overtake. Slow down — it can take 10 times longer to
stop in snowy or icy conditions, so allow extra room. Use the
highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin. Manoeuvre gently and
avoid harsh braking and acceleration. If you start to skid, gently
ease off the accelerator and avoid braking. If braking is
necessary, pump the brakes don't slam them on. If you get stuck,
stay with your car and tie something brightly coloured to your
- If you go outside wear several layers of
clothing and keep dry to prevent loss of body heat. Watch out for
signs of hypothermia — uncontrollable shivering, slow/slurred
speech, memory lapse and drowsiness and frostbite — loss of feeling
in and pale appearance of fingers, toes, nose and ear lobes. Keep
moving your arms and legs to help the blood circulate.
The snow code - tips on clearing snow and ice from pavements or
Pay extra attention to clear snow and ice from steps and steep
pathways - you might need to use more salt on these areas.
If you clear snow and ice yourself, be careful - don’t make the
pathways more dangerous by causing them to refreeze. But don’t be
put off clearing paths because you’re afraid someone will get
Remember, people walking on snow and ice have responsibility to
be careful themselves. Follow the advice below to make sure you
clear the pathway safely and effectively.
Clear the snow or ice early in the day
It’s easier to move fresh, loose snow rather than hard snow that
has packed together from people walking on it. So if possible,
start removing the snow and ice in the morning. If you remove the
top layer of snow in the morning, any sunshine during the day will
help melt any ice beneath. You can then cover the path with salt
before nightfall to stop it refreezing overnight.
Use salt or sand - not water
If you use water to melt the snow, it may refreeze and turn to
black ice. Black ice increases the risk of injuries as it is
invisible and very slippery. You can prevent black ice by spreading
some salt on the area you have cleared. You can use ordinary table
or dishwasher salt - a tablespoon for each square metre you clear
should work. Don’t use the salt found in salting bins - this
will be needed to keep the roads clear.
Be careful not to spread salt on plants or grass as it may cause
If you don’t have enough salt, you can also use sand or ash.
These won’t stop the path icing over as well as salt, but will
provide good grip under foot.
Take care where you move the snow
When you’re shovelling snow, take care where you put it so it
doesn’t block people’s paths or drains. Make sure you make a path
down the middle of the area to be cleared firs, so you have a clear
surface to walk on. Then shovel the snow from the centre of the
path to the sides.
Offer to clear your neighbours’ paths
If your neighbour will have difficulty getting in and out of
their home, offer to clear snow and ice around their property as
well. Check that any elderly or disabled neighbours are alright in
the cold weather. If you’re worried about them, contact your local
After snow and ice
- Be careful when walking or driving on
compacted snow — it may have turned to ice.
- Take care when shovelling snow. Cold air
makes it harder to work and breathe, which adds some extra strain
on the body and can be the cause of heart attacks in the
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