With temperatures lower than expected for this time of year, Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service has issued some helpful tips for staying safe.
It is particularly important that motorists ensure their vehicles are in good working order and adapt their driving for the conditions.
Try and stay warm at home – but take care to ensure you use safe methods to do so and when out and about please be careful around frozen water.
When planning to travel
- Allow more time for braking in snow and icy conditions;
- Allow more room between yourself and other vehicles – this will give you greater braking times and distances;
- Driving in adverse weather conditions can be stressful and tiring – if you feel tired, take a break;
- Before setting out on your journey, make sure that your vehicle is in good working order;
- Make sure your car is in good mechanical order and your tyres are in good condition.
- Ensure both windscreens and all windows are thoroughly defrosted and ice free before driving.
When trying to keep warm
- Be careful when using open fires to keep warm – make sure you always use a fireguard to protect against flying sparks;
- Make sure hot embers are under control and properly extinguished before going to bed or leaving the property;
- Always unplug electric heaters when going to bed or leaving the property;
- Keep heaters away from curtains and furniture and never use them for drying clothes;
- Only use gas or paraffin heaters in well-ventilated areas and always have in place a carbon monoxide detector;
To help prevent your pipes from freezing, it’s important to:
- Know where the internal stop/tap valve is (usually under the kitchen sink) and how to turn it off;
- Keep your home as warm as possible even if you are out;
- Lag pipes in exposed or draughty places;
- Leave the trap door to the roof space open to let warm air flow in during extreme weather conditions when there is the chance that un-lagged water tanks and pipes could freeze;
- See that taps are turned off properly;
- Have contact details for a plumber.
- Never walk or jump onto frozen water. Even if it appears thick from the bank, it could be thin and break easily. You also do not know how deep the water is below.
- Do not be tempted to test the thickness of the ice. It is easy to slip from the bank and fall through into the freezing water.
- Make sure children understand how dangerous it is to play on the ice and teach them not to go onto the ice under any circumstances. Adults can set a good example by staying off the ice themselves too.
- Dog owners should ensure they keep their pets on a lead, and avoid throwing toys or sticks on the ice, so they are not at risk of falling in. If your dog does fall in, do not go onto ice or into the water to rescue them. Instead, move to a place the dog will be able to climb out and call them toward you.
- Time your walks to make the most of the daylight; if you need to walk in the evening only use well-lit areas or take a route that avoids water.
- Don’t wander too near the edge, icy or wet conditions could cause you to slip and fall in.
For more advice, please visit our Cold Weather Advice page.