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Baby, it’s cold outside!

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You get up for work and notice it’s frosty, misty, and possibly snowy outside.

Great job that you got the car prepared the night before.

Yes, we’ve entered into that time of the year when driving on the roads becomes crazy and folk can’t get to work, or even get home for that matter!

We here in the UK don’t really know how to drive in cold, freezing snowy conditions anymore; let’s just be honest about that one. Well, some folk can yet the majority can’t.

Why is that? Well, we don’t really get the practice anymore and it’s a skill that we just don’t get taught. So, unless knowledge is imparted from another, or learned from a YouTube video or even a homemade video on another social media channel, you learn when you have to!

Yes, you’ve guessed it, that’s when things go wrong.

So, what is the point of this article? It’s to get you to think. To think differently about how you need to prepare for the winter months when it comes to travel, whether that be by car, bus, or train.

There are many simple things you can do. The most important is to plan. Plan your journey. We’ve all heard the saying ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail’ and it’s correct.

So, plan!

Plan your journey, and the time you leave. Do you need to catch an earlier bus or train? (that’s if they are even running). Do you need to get the number of local taxi firms and see if they can help? If you are a regular taxi passenger, do you need to get them to pick you up ten minutes earlier so that the driver can drive slower and still get you to work on time?

What am I going to wear? Layers! Make sure you have good sturdy footwear. Don’t go out in your smooth-bottom boots/shoes because I can guarantee you that you will end up on your bottom! I know, I have the T-shirt. Think feet, hands, and head. Ensure that you have something to cover them because if one of them is cold, the rest of you will be too!

Check out the local travel news before you are due to leave so that if there are any accidents or road closures, you can plan a different route.

Assuming you have a mobile phone and you take it with you, ensure that it has plenty of charge. Take a battery bank fully charged and check the amount of data you have. The last thing you need is to be stuck and not be able to contact anyone.

Now for you car drivers out there, a little more detail as well as the above.

Put the following items in your car, yes do it!

A spade- I know I know, the strange looks I’ve had over the years when I’ve opened my boot and folk see a spade!? If you get stuck in the snow, you are going to need it.

A blanket or sleeping bag popped on the back seat. The last thing you want is to be stuck in the freezing cold, broken down, and not be able to wrap up warm.

Practical car bits to get covered off. For the tyres, check the depth of the tread and the pressure. If you don’t know how to do this, pop into your local car garage and ask for help. Top up your screen wash and keep extra in the car. With the salt on the roads being flicked up, you use more screenwash in the winter months. Make sure that your windows are all clear, all of them. You can be stopped by the police for not having clear windows. Checks all your lights working, front and rear. There’s nothing worse than driving in freezing fog and having one light coming around the corner and you don’t know whether it’s a car or a bike!

Make sure you have a coat and boots in the car (if you don’t wear them when driving). There’s nothing worse than having to get your coat and boots from the boot and then finding your feet are wet and cold as the snow has gone through your driving shoes. Have a yellow or orange high-visibility jacket in the boot of your car for you to wear. If you break down, you need to be able to warn others that you are there and in dark clothes, you won’t be seen. Many cars these days come with the emergency breakdown triangle in the boot. If you don’t have one, invest in one.

The last thing to think about is emergency phone numbers. Write them down and leave them in your glove box. We can all be a bit too reliant on modern technology at times, and when it goes wrong, you have to have a backup plan. If your phone won’t work and you have to use someone else’s, you need the phone numbers.

Above all else, if you are not confident and don’t feel it’s safe to travel, don’t. If you need to get to work, talk to colleagues or have a chat with your line manager and see how they can help.