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  1. Driving In Snow Top Tips For Success

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    Driving in snow can be perilous unless you are well prepared

    There are no dark arts to driving in snow and ice. It is just a matter of being prepared and reacting to the weather conditions. Our comprehensive top tips should be useful to any driver, from the experienced to the inexperienced.

    Road Worthiness

    The first thing you should do before even attempting driving in snow is to check whether your car is road worthy for winter conditions:

    1. Treads on tyres should have at least 1.6mm but 3mm is recommended in the winter for extra traction and grip
    2. Ensure your car battery is working properly by getting it checked at a reputable garage or doing it yourself with a car battery tester
    3. Top up your engines antifreeze to prevent it from freezing in the cold
    4. Add a winter additive to your screen wash reservoir to prevent it from freezing
    5. Check your wiper blades to make sure they clear your window effectively. Old or worn blades should be replaced
    6. Store spare bulbs in your car and wipe the light glass regularly so you can see and be seen
    7. Keep your fuel tank regularly topped up to prevent unnecessary breakdowns

    Be Prepared

    Once you know your car is ready for driving in snow, you need to think about what kit you should store in your boot for an emergency. The amount you take with you will be dependent on the route and the length of the journey, but you should consider the following:

    1. A torch with spare batteries
    2. Stout shoes or Wellington boots – Never drive whilst wearing these
    3. A warm blanket or winter sleeping bag
    4. Thermal hat and insulated waterproof gloves
    5. Waterproof jacket and spare warm clothing
    6. Snow shovel
    7. Bottle of water and emergency food such as a chocolate bar
    8. Flask filled with a hot drink
    9. Fully charged mobile phone with a charging cable
    10. An old rug or sacking for placing under car wheels if stuck

    Driving In Snow And Ice

    1. The first thing you should assess before driving in snow is if your journey is actually necessary. Speak to your employer to see if you can work from home or take the day as holiday. If your journey is necessary and unavoidable then follow these tips for driving safely:
    2. Research your route. All the major breakdown services will have up to date information of road conditions on their sites
    3. Get up early to prepare your car. Remove all snow and defrost windows thoroughly. Ensure your lights and number plates are clean and visible
    4. Leave earlier than normal and be generous with your expected journey time.
    5. Tell a family member of friend your intended route
    6. Dial your radio in to a local radio station with weather and road reports
    7. If your wheels are spinning in first gear when starting out, try pulling away in second gear
    8. Stick to main roads as they will more likely be ploughed and gritted
    9. Drive Slowly and anticipate breaking. On snow and ice covered roads the breaking distances can be up to 10 times further
    10. Apply brakes gently to help prevent skidding
    11. When coming up to a hill, leave enough space between yourself and the car in front to prevent breaking or stopping half way up
    12. Coming downhill, keep your engine in a low gear to slow your car down rather than applying the breaks


    If you should find yourself broken down on the roads or stuck in snow then the first thing to remember is not to panic. There will be other drivers in exactly the same predicament at yourself.

    1. If possible, move your car off the road to prevent other drivers form getting stranded
    2. Notify friends and family members of your situation and contact your breakdown provider
    3. If you are stranded in snow it may be possible to dig yourself out. Place a rug or old mat under the tyres to give extra grip
    4. Do not abandon your car if you do not know where you are or if you are not within easy walking distance of help
    5. Cars loose heat very efficiently due to the high metal content and low insulation so keep warm by adding extra clothing layers
    6. Try and keep your engine running if you want to use electric items such as heated seats and lights. Turn it in for at least five minutes every hour
    7. Ensure the exhaust is clear of snow before turning on your engine
  2. Stay Safe on the Slopes

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    stay safe on the slopes


    The FCO have launched travel advice guidance for Brits travelling to a winter ski or snowboarding holiday abroad to make sure they stay safe on the slopes.

    The guidance includes essential advice and tips to ensure that travellers avoid injury and expensive medical costs whilst on the slopes. The key messages are:

      • Take out comprehensive insurance that covers all of your winter sports activities
      • Don’t drink and ski
      • Protect our head and policy – many insurers insist you wear a helmet
      • Don’t attempt slopes you’re not experienced or fit enough to tackle
      • Make sure someones knows where you’re going and tell them of any changes to your plans


    stay safe on the slopes

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  3. The British Mountaineering Council (BMC) Courses And Data Sheets

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    The BMC organises a range of good practice courses, lectures and seminars, including:

    With partners, the BMC produces a range of safety and skills information, including:

    The BMC website also contains safety & skills advice, including:

  4. Top Ten Tips For Dogs In The Countryside

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    By law, dogs must be controlled so that they do not scare or disturb livestock or wildlife. On open access land, they have to be kept on short leads from 1 March to 31 July and all year round near sheep. Close supervision is also required on public rights of way.

    • Never allow your dog into fields where there are young animals.
    • Never allow your dog into cultivated fields unless you are on a right of way and then keep your dog on the path.
    • It might be only ‘play’ to your dog but never let your dog worry farm animals.
    • If you go into a field of farm livestock, steer well clear of them and keep your dog on a short lead to avoid potential confrontation.
    • If cattle do react aggressively or with curiosity and head towards you, let the dog go and calmly take the safest route out of the field even if it means retracing your steps.
    • During the bird breeding season (usually April- July) keep your dog on a short lead in sensitive areas such as moorland, forests, open grassland, lochs and by the sea.
    • Bear in mind ‘poop and scoop’ wherever you and your dog are even, or especially, in remote places to avoid spreading parasites to wildlife?
    • Many reservoirs and streams are used as drinking water sources so keep your dog out of the water.
    • As a courtesy to others, slip the lead on your dog when walking towards others on a narrow path.
    • What are exuberant expressions of fun and greeting by your dog may be misread by other people and can frighten children. ‘Don’t worry – he won’t hurt you’ is not an acceptable alternative to close control.


    Credit: Cumbria Tourist Board/Tony West

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