Winter Weather Safety Tips

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As the dark nights start to draw in and the countdown to Christmas begins, the Winter season can sometimes prove to be a hazardous one. Here are some Winter Weather Safety Tips to take note of.

Whilst the Winter season can bring us joy with the official start of the Christmas countdown, it can also prove to be one of the more dangerous times of the year.

Slips, trips and vehicular accidents can become common in the next few months, which is why it’s vital to take greater care and ensure you are always prepared for the colder weather and for hazardous environments.

With this in mind, we’ve collated together a few key Winter Weather Safety Tips to help stay safe this season – take a look:

OPInfo Blog’s Winter Weather Safety Tips

Plan Out Your Journey in Advance

Whether catching public transport, driving on the roads or walking by foot at this time of year, our first piece of advice is to always plan out any journeys ahead of time.

When planning out your journey, consider:

The time it will take you to get to your destination
Current road traffic reports
Train/bus/coach timetables and how you can access public transport updates
Potential accident ‘black-spots’ (e.g. routes that could be affected by ice/snow, flooding etc.)

For a general overview of previous and current traffic conditions on your chosen route, the AA website contains road traffic updates, along with information on closures and diversions.

In terms of public transport, it’s always best to check with your train network provider or your local bus/coach company for updates relating to delays, cancellations and alterations that are affecting services.

If you are planning to travel by train, the National Rail website contains a full list of every train operating company in the UK along with their website, contact information, ticketing and fare options, assistance with travel facilities and social media accounts (helpful when looking for quick travel updates on the go).

For bus and coach journeys, it’s best to consult the bus/coach company that operates services in your local region.

The five main services within the UK are:

Arriva
First
Go-Ahead
National Express
Stagecoach

Carry Out Some Basic Checks Before Setting Off

You’ve mapped out how long it’s going to take you to your destination, checked the local traffic/public transport travel updates and considered any potential dangerous roads/paths on your route but before you set off on your journey – have you gone through some basic checks?

Whilst there may be a strong temptation to plow on ahead with your plans and onward with your journey in order to avoid being late to work or to your destination, it’s important to cover some basic checks relating to your vehicle or with yourself so that you’re prepared for any Winter weather scenarios.

Before you leave the house and get in your car, get on your bus/train/coach or start walking, you should check you have with you:

Money
Your Mobile Phone (Fully charged)
Keys
Full Tank of Fuel (If driving)
A Flask or Water Bottle
Some Food/Snacks (For longer journeys)

Additionally, preparing a ‘Winter Weather Kit’ for journeys ensures you have all of the essentials you’ll need for the cold weather and should include items such as a torch, high visibility clothing, a windscreen scraper (when driving), a shovel (when driving), and any medication you might need.

The potential danger of travelling in wintry conditions means that it’s also important to be ready for worst case scenarios and accidents, either on the road or when on foot.

With this in mind, a Micro First Aid Kit or a First Aid Travel Pouch which contains medical supplies such as plasters, bandages, safety pins, wipes and dressings can be especially useful to have on hand with you or kept in an accessible area in your car.

Stay Warm

After planning out your journey and carrying out some basic checks, the most important thing you can do when travelling this Winter is to make sure you stay warm.

Being cold is unpleasant enough during wintry conditions, but not maintaining a warm body temperature can take its toll on your health too.

Depending on how cold the temperature is outside, not wrapping up warm or protecting yourself against the cold can in some cases lead to conditions such as:

Frostbite – visible damage to parts of the body such as your ears, nose, chin, cheeks, fingers and toes, sometimes resulting in blisters. Skin can also appear drained in colour and can feel tough or waxy making it difficult to move affected areas.

Hypothermia – symptoms can include shivering, confusion, tiredness and weakened bladder. Important to treat quickly as escalated hypothermia can cause severe health issues and a possibility of death in the very worst cases.

Heart problems – due to your heart having to work harder in order to keep you warm, the cold weather can cause heart issues, especially for those who have pre-existing heart related concerns.

To avoid the likelihood of experiencing these adverse health effects, Healthline advises that in order to stay warm when temperatures begin to plummet, you should wear several layers of warm clothing (lightweight items if you struggle to regulate your body temperature after an extended period of time) that is wind and water resistant.

Additionally, they suggest making sure you to wear gloves and a scarf in order to protect the uncovered parts of your skin and wear warm, waterproof footwear with good tread to help prevent slipping or falling on pavement or road surfaces.

Along with this advice, Nicholas Bratton, co-owner of the Arctic search and recovery company, Global Exploration and Recovery, reiterates the importance of staying hydrated during the colder seasons of the year, explaining:

“It’s easier for your body to circulate blood to your extremities when you’re hydrated, so keep drinking water.

When it’s cold you may not feel like drinking, so make water more appealing by keeping it warm in an insulated bottle.

Avoid drinking alcohol or caffeine.

Alcohol is a vasodilator (makes your blood vessels expand), which causes your body to lose heat faster.

Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor (shrinks your blood vessels), which makes it harder for blood to circulate.

Both of them accelerate dehydration.”

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Sam Rose

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