Cold Weather Advice

When planning to travel

  • Check local TV, radio and internet for weather and traffic reports before travelling. The Met Office will provide regular updates in their Weather Warning Guide.
  • Make sure your mobile phone is fully charged, but DO NOT use it when driving.
  • Pack plenty of warm clothing and drinks in your vehicle, including hot drinks in a flask, if possible. Keeping these items in the vehicles seating area, rather than boot will save time if you need to reach them. 
  • Be aware that high winds can affect the handling of your vehicle and sudden gusts can happen without warning - keep a good grip on the steering wheel and avoid overtaking high-sided vehicles.
  • 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.

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.
  • Never use hot water bottles in the same bed as an electric blanket, even if switched off.
  • Always unplug electric blankets before going to bed, unless it has a thermostat control for safe all night use.
  • Keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained. This should be done by a registered and competent person.

Wood burning stoves

  • Ensure that your stove is installed properly and maintained regularly.
  • Keep your flue open to allow plenty of oxygen in while using your stove.
  • Start your fire with clean newspaper or dry kindling

The following safety tips should also be considered when using a wood burning stove:

  • Install and maintain a smoke alarm.
  • Install and maintain a carbon monoxide detector.
  • Always keep a fire extinguisher handy and in proper, working condition.

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 the home as warm as possible even if you are out.
  • Lag pipes in exposed or draughty places.
  • Leave the trap door to roofspace 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.

Useful links: 

Further advice

  • In the event of a fire, always remember to get out, stay out and call 999.
  • During adverse weather, please be mindful of those in your community that may not be coping, check in on elderly or vulnerable relatives, friends and neighbours and be on the look-out for signs that something might be wrong. 


Find out whether your area has been given a flood alert or flood warning

  • If you are driving, please do not attempt to drive through flood water. Just 30cm of moving flood water is enough to make your car float and potentially move you into deeper water where you could become stranded. 
  • Do not let children play in flood water as it could be deeper than it seems. 
  •  Ensure good ventilation if using portable indoor heating appliances to dry out indoor spaces – do not use petrol or diesel generators or other similar fuel-driven equipment indoors: the exhaust gases contain carbon monoxide which can kill.
  • Do not turn on gas or electrics if they have got wet – only turn them on when they have been checked by a qualified technician.
  • Do not move or ignore road closures signs – they are there for your safety, so please do not ignore them.


For more advice on what to do to prepare for flooding or if you have been flooded, the Environment Agency and Public Health England have produced a Flooding: Advice for the Public guide

If available for your neighbourhood, sign up for free flood warning messages or call the Environment Agency’s Floodline: 0345 988 1188.