The first snow and ice always hits unexpectedly. Make sure you are ready, take a little extra care on the roads and make sure you can be seen in the dark.
Icy roads and pavements
When winter roads are icy, it is particularly important to drive, walk and cycle with care. Junctions and side roads can be extra slippery – turn off carefully when leaving a large, salted road. Keep your distance from the car in front of you!
Be prepared when you head out on the ice
The activities that lead to the most deaths on the ice are fishing and vehicles of various kinds. Get to know the weak points on the ice and take the right equipment with you. Your knowledge could save your life and the life of other people!
Equip your car for winter
Wintry conditions on the road mean accidents can easily happen and this can cause long queues and waits in your car. You can prepare yourself for the winter roads by equipping your car with:
- A brush, ice scraper and snow shovel
- Jump leads and a tow rope
- Extra warning triangle to warn road users in both directions
- High-vis vest and torch
- Antifreeze, frostproof screenwash and engine oil
- A first aid kit
Stay visible on the roads
Use reflectors – even in town. Streetlights allow you to see, but they don’t mean you can be seen. Wear reflectors on your left and right side, so you can be seen from both directions. Reflectors are most visible if they are low down and moving.
Bicycles should be fitted with reflectors and approved lighting. Remember that it can be hard for motorists to see cyclists approaching crossings at speed. Your safety is most important, be prepared to stop – even if the lights are green!
Did you know that a dry Christmas tree can burn up in just a few seconds if it comes into contact with a candle flame or a sparkler, for example?
How to set up a safe Christmas tree
Every year there are a number of cases where a Christmas tree catches fire, and often the damage can be extensive. But there are things you can do to protect yourself. And to avoid cleaning up so many needles.
- Saw off a few centimetres of the trunk when you get home. The old cut will be full of resin and will not let any water through.
- Reawaken the tree gently. If possible, leave it in a cool place in a bucket of water before bringing it in to room temperature.
- Make sure the tree is standing in water at all times.
- Do not place the tree too close to a radiator or fire that will dry it out more quickly than is necessary.
- Make sure that tree lights are complete and fully functional.
- Never place live candles or sparklers near the tree.
Be careful with indoor sparklers
The sparks from a sparkler are tiny glowing iron filings. Most of these are so small that they cool down before they hit any flammable material. But sometimes a glowing filing can contain so much heat energy that it can cause a fire. You therefore need to be careful when lighting indoor sparklers.
A fresh Christmas tree is relatively difficult to burn. But if it has been standing at room temperature without water for a week or more, it will have dried out significantly. A spark from a sparkler could be enough to set it alight.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to see how dried out a Christmas tree is. A top tip is to test how flexible the needles are. A fresh needle will bend without breaking. A dry needle is brittle and will break when you try to bend it.