Remember when snow and ice used to be a good thing? We’d wake up to a white canvas on the other side of our curtain and jump for joy at the news of a school closure. Not anymore! If you are part of the working world, those days are well and truly gone. With the recent dramatic fall in temperatures, this past few days we’ve been waking up to a winter wonderland outside our back door and wondering how on earth we are going to manage the journey to work. Instead of wishing for it, we’re praying the snow doesn’t come and cursing it when it does. But not to worry- just follow our tips to beat the freeze, and we’ll make sure you get to work safely and on time.
If you are one of many people taking your car to work every day, you will no doubt notice a huge change in traffic when the weather is bad. Even a heavy downpour of rain can turn a 20 minute commute into half an hour. The first piece of valuable advice we can give you is to ensure you have plenty of time. Time is key. If there is a wintry forecast on the cards for the morning, make sure you allow yourself a good extra 20-30 minutes.
Follow these tips to make sure your car remains functional in snow and ice:
- Cover your windscreen before you go to bed. You can get covers made especially for your car, or just use an old blanket or even a black bin bag if you don’t have one of these. This will save you a lot of time de-icing in the morning!
- If you don’t cover your windscreen, you will no doubt wake up to a thick layer of ice obstructing your view in the morning. Do not be tempted to bring the kettle out to get rid of it as the sudden dramatic temperature change can cause your windscreen to crack. Use de-icer and a scraper and just be patient. If you are in a hurry, you can use cold water to help.
- Turn your car on while you are de-icing it. The temperature from the air inside will help the defrosting process.
- Remove any snow from around the wheels and roof. The roof is particularly important as any lying snow could fall onto your windscreen while driving making it very dangerous!
- If you have a long commute, you might want to pack some extra supplies in the boot of the car just in case you might end up stranded somewhere. We recommend extra blankets, jump-leads, food and water.
- When you finally get on the road, make sure you drive slowly and carefully. Do not misjudge how treacherous the road conditions are. Even if they have been well gritted, take extra care for black ice. It is a good idea to stick to main roads where possible.
- If you have the option to leave the car at home, do it. Accidents are much more likely in poor driving conditions and you are better to be a little inconvenienced that involved in a crash. Safety first.
If you live close enough to your work to walk in, or even just walk as part of your journey, you will need to make sure you are well prepared for the icy conditions. Here are our top tips for battling the wintry elements on your walking commute:
- Allow yourself a lot of extra time. Depending on how far you need to walk, we would advise allowing anything up to 40 minutes extra. A good general guideline is to allow twice as much time as it normally takes for walking.
- You will need layers and a thick, insulated, waterproof coat. Your stylish yet flimsy work blazer is no good today!
- You will also need a good pair of waterproof wellies or snow boots to keep your feet warm and dry until you get into work. It’s a good idea to pack a small backpack with shoes that are perhaps a little more office-worthy for when you get there. An extra pair of socks are useful too in case your waterproof boots fail you.
- The pavements can be very dangerous when there has been a snowfall. Unlike the roads, usually the pavement will not have been gritted. Try to avoid routes that take you up or down steep hills as there will be increased chances of slipping and falling- we know this is easier said than done!
- If you are nervous about the slippery conditions, you could try adding a pair of spikes to your boots. You can get these online or in most good outdoor shops.
If you take your bike to work, you are also at risk in the deep freeze although you don’t have to leave your bike at home! Follow these tips to make sure you stay safe while you cycle in the snow.
- Avoid dark clothing as you want to make sure you remain visible to motorists and pedestrians. Reflective clothing and ideally a flashing light are perfect for making sure you are seen.
- Try and stay out of the gutter if you can as this is where most of the ice will build up. Sticking to main roads will also be much safer as these will normally be gritted before the first flow of traffic.
- Make sure your bike is ready for the winter before taking it out in icy conditions. Lower your seat by 5cm to lower your centre of gravity. This will give you more control and enable you to get your foot down more easily should you need to stop quickly or steady yourself. Consider adding slightly wider tyres to your bike to increase grip and improve traction.
- As always, don't forget your helmet! You are at a much higher risk of being in an accident when you go out on your bike in the snow.
Hopefully you find these tips helpful when you find the conditions difficult. If you think of anything else useful that we have left out, feel free to drop us a line on social media.