What to do if you are snowed in?

Snowed in

As we all know snow in the UK can bring the whole country to a standstill.  Unfortunately we are never prepared as a country for the onset of heavy snow.   Because of this we strongly suggest that wherever possible, stay in your homes and restrict going outside to an absolute minimum to reduce the risks of falls and accidents. 

However, we appreciate this is not always possible especially if we need to check on elderly parents or friends.  If you must use your vehicle, we have provided the following tips to safe driving in snow conditions.

  • Before you leave the house please make sure that you have informed someone that that you are leaving, the route you intend to take and the anticipated arrival time.  Should you exceed this time then someone can raise the alarm if you are late and thought to be missing or in danger.   Where ever possible try to remain in contact.
  • Make sure you have adequate clothing in case you should breakdown or become stuck in a road traffic accident. 
  • Take a flask of soup or other hot beverage with you just in case you should get held up for a long period.
  • Make sure your mobile phone is fully charged and take a charger with you just in case.
  • Make sure you take a shovel with you or even better a snow shovel which you can buy from any good super market or DIY shop. You never know if your car will get stuck in a drift or get snowed in at your destination.
  • If you have a spare bag of salt or grit pop it in the boot as you never know you may need it
  • Throw an extra thick blanket in the boot of the car.  If the weather is that bad and you run into trouble it may be sometime before help can get to you.
  • Make sure your car is road worthy and that you are fully insured as you are 100 times more likely to become involved in an accident when travelling in terrible weather conditions.
  • Make sure you have your break down membership card with you as this will have telephone numbers to use in an emergency.
  • If you must take young children on your journey then make sure they have all the adequate clothing, food, and water just in case.  We advise everyone to keep young children in the home and not risk taking them out.
  • If your car has traction control we recommend that you disable this function on your car as in snow it will act against you, especially if you are on an icy spot or on a hill.
  • Try and pull off in 2nd gear rather than first gear this will reduce wheel spin.
  • When driving in snow it is good to remember that the plan is to arrive at your destination safely.  Do not attempt to drive fast. In fact we recommend that you drive between 5-20mph and adjust accordingly.
  • When negotiating a bend or corner, drive in one fluid moment.  Drive very slowly and do not make contact with the brakes wherever possible, because in icy conditions, your car can skid even at 3mph.
  • Avoid steep inclines as it may not be possible to stop.
  • If your car is a four wheel drive, make sure its engaged and the diff lock is enabled.

If you live an apartment, there may be a salt bin located somewhere within the communal car parking area.  If there is an incline or slope at the entrance to your car park or drive, we recommend you spread a very thin amount of grit or salt onto the surface as soon as possible. If the communal salt bin is locked, we recommend contacting one of the Resident Directors on site as they will have a key or the combination of the lock.  If you are unable to contact them, make contact with your Managing Agents.   If conditions are very bad and the road conditions are dangerous, then you will have to fend for yourselves, as it may not be possible to get a contractor out to you.  If you have any concerns please give the team at Merlin Estates a call.  If the severe weather conditions have prevented our staff from getting to the office, please do not hesitate to ring the emergency number provided, or indeed the emergency services should it be urgent.

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