Winter safety

Cold weather can be a killer. You can start by following these tips to keep your family warm and well in extremely cold weather:

  • keep curtains drawn and doors closed to block draughts
  • have regular hot drinks and at least one hot meal a day if possible - eating regularly keeps energy levels up during the winter
  • keep active in your home if you can
  • wear several layers of light, warm clothes
  • keep your main living room at around 18-21 degrees C (65-70 degrees F) and the rest of your house at least 16 degrees C (61 degrees F) - if you can't heat all the rooms you use, heat the living room during the day and the bedroom just before you go to sleep
  • have your heating and cooking appliances checked
  • get financial support - there are grants, benefits and sources available to make your home more energy efficient, improve heating or help with bills
  • protect your home in winter with these tips from Nottinghamshire police
  • find more tips and advice on keeping warm in winter on the Nottinghamshire County Council website.

Keeping your home warm

Cold homes can have a significant impact on your health. One of the best ways of keeping yourself well during winter is to stay warm. Nottinghamshire County Council provides some top tips for keeping warm in winter on their website or you can visit our making your home warmer webpage

If you’re struggling to heat your home and on a low income, find out if you might be eligible for help from Warm Homes on Prescription.

It’s also a good idea to make a note of your free emergency numbers - in a power cut dial 105 or, for a gas emergency, dial 0800 111999. Keep your eyes open – keep an eye on the weather forecast and any weather warnings.

If you have a power cut or a gas emergency, check on your neighbours, especially if they are older or vulnerable.

You can also be prepared by:

• keeping a torch handy

• getting your appliances serviced by a Gas Safe registered engineer to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning

Vulnerable households can get extra support by signing up to the priority services register. Contact your gas or electricity network to find out more. Visit the energy networks association website to find out who your network operator is.

Ice and snow on pavements

Icy pavements and roads can be very slippery. Take extra care if you go out and wear boots or shoes with good grip on the soles. The Met Office advises putting grit or cat litter on paths and driveways to lessen the risk of slipping. It adds that you should wait until the roads have been gritted if you're travelling by car.

Bear in mind that black ice on pavements might not be clearly visible, and that compacted snow may turn to ice and become slippery.

Advice on how to clear ice and snow from paths and cycleways can be found on the GOV.UK website

Winter driving advice

Fog and icy road conditions bring a whole set of additional hazards but a bit of forward planning goes a long way. Set your alarm 15 minutes early so you have time to sit with your car as it warms up and then have a bit more time to make your journey. Never set off before your windows have completely cleared, as this obscures your vision.

Be sure to check your tyres, screen wash, antifreeze and battery regularly. Remember that during winter months the battery will drain more quickly with the additional use of electrical items such as heaters, lights and heated rear windscreen. The Met Office has some good advice, including how to prepare a winter kit for your car.

Nottinghamshire County Council, which is responsible for gritting our roads, offers some tips and advice on driving in all winter weathers including: heavy rain, flooding, high winds, and of course, snow and ice.

In severe weather conditions, don't use your car unless it is essential.  If you have to drive, remember to take your time in poor conditions, drive to the conditions of the road and keep your distance behind the vehicle in front.  It’s better to get there late, than never.

Winter cycling advice

If you’re cycling in winter, invest in some good quality winter clothing, as getting cold and wet doesn’t make for a good riding experience, plus it could also affect your riding ability. Ensuring you have the right clothing for winter cycling will help you keep warm and dry.

If you’re cycling at night, make sure you’re visible by:

  • adding reflective items to body parts that move such as shoes with reflective strips, reflective wrist bands and gloves
  • wearing a rear light on your back pack or your helmet for extra visibility - the additional height of the light will be at eye level for most motorists
  • ensuring your bike has working illuminated front and rear lights between sunset and sunrise and during periods of reduced visibility

For more advice on night time cycling visit Nottinghamshire Police’s website

Outsmart winter with help from Nottinghamshire County Council

Find out about winter roads, the latest weather news, view gritting routes and get travel updates. Sign up for the Nottinghamshire County Council winter newsletter and get tips on staying well this winter.

Look out for others

Cold weather is especially dangerous for older people or people with serious illnesses. Check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be vulnerable to cold weather.

People with heart or respiratory (breathing) problems may also experience more severe symptoms during a cold spell and for several days after temperatures return to normal. 

Read how to spot and treat hypothermia on the NHS website.