There can be dangers if an individual is caught in a snowstorm. People can, however, protect themselves, their vehicles and their households from the many hazards of winter by planning ahead.

Winter Driving

  • Each winter Ceredigion County Council plans which roads will be gritted when snow and ice are forecast. Full page advertisements are placed in local newspapers telling people what these routes are. The information is also accessible on the County Council's website at
  • Always check the weather forecast before starting your trip
  • Ask the question "Is my journey necessary?" If not, then don't travel. If it is, plan your journey using the primary route road network
  • Try to wait until the roads have been gritted before travelling
  • Find out if you can use public transport
  • Allow extra time for your journey
  • Let someone know when you expect to arrive, and your route
  • Clear the windows before setting off
  • Ensureyour vehicle has suitable anti-freeze added to its radiator and low-freezing screen-wash. Consider carrying additional spare low-freezing screen-wash in your vehicle
  • Ensure your vehicle is in good working order - wash all lights and indicators frequently
  • In cold conditions, always drive with extra care and never assume that a road has been gritted or salted
  • Tune into your local radio station for regular travel news updates
  • Use dipped headlights when driving in rain, snow or fog
  • Always keep plenty of fuel in your tank

If you must drive, check the Highway Code for advice on driving in ice and snowy weather. A summary of the advice is:

  • Take care around gritters. Don't be tempted to overtake
  • Slow down; it can take 10 times longer to stop in snowy or icy conditions, so allow extra room
  • Use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin
  • Manoeuvre gently and avoid harsh braking and acceleration. If you start to skid, gently ease off the accelerator and avoid braking
  • If braking is necessary, pump the brakes, don't slam them on

Keep an emergency supply kit in your car, which includes:

  • Suitable winter clothes and footwear, and a blanket or sleeping bag
  • Mobile phone, radio, torch and extra batteries
  • Shovel and a windscreen scraper
  • Water and snacks
  • Tow chain or rope; and
  • Jump leads

If you get stuck in a winter storm in a remote area:

  • Pull off the road. Turn on the hazard lights and hang a distress flag from the radio aerial or window
  • Remain in your vehicle. Only leave the car if there are buildings nearby where you know you can take shelter. Distances are distorted by drifting snow - a building may seem close, but may be too far to walk in deep snow
  • Run the engine and heater for about 10 minutes every hour to keep warm. When the engine is running, open a window slightly to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Periodically clear snow from the exhaust pipe
  • Move around to maintain body heat, but avoid over-exertion
  • Huddle with passengers
  • Make sure that someone in the car stays awake to keep an eye out for rescue teams
  • Drink fluids to avoid dehydration
  • Don't waste battery power

Make sure your home is safe for winter

Prepare to survive in your home on your own, without outside help, for at least three days. A home emergency supply kit will help in this eventuality. If your house is in a remote area:

  • Ensure that you have sufficient heating fuel for your house. Arrange that you have alternative heating equipment plus sufficient fuel for it in case the electricity supply is cut off
  • Keep a check on oil consumption - if you appear to be using more than usual, but there is no evidence of oil spillage around the tank, defective underground pipe work could be the cause. Heating oil system installers can pressure test lines to check for leaks. You are advised to check your household insurance to see if you are covered for this type of incident
  • Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid a build-up of toxic fumes. Keep fire extinguishers to hand and make sure everyone in the house knows how to use them
  • Listen to the local radio or television for weather reports and emergency information
  • Eat regularly and drink ample fluids (avoid caffeine and alcohol)
  • Put grit or cat litter on paths and driveways to lessen the risk of slipping on compacted snow
  • Take care when shovelling snow. Cold air makes it harder to work and breathe, which adds some extra strain on the body
  • Dress appropriately. Several layers of light loose fitting clothing are better than one thick layer. The outer layer should be water repellent. Mittens are warmer than gloves. Always wear a hat as most body heat is lost through the head
  • Watch out for signs of frostbite: loss of feeling in extremities with a white or pale appearance. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately
  • Watch out for signs of hypothermia: uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. If symptoms are detected, move the person to a warm location, remove any wet clothing, warm the body from the inside first by giving them a warm, non-alcoholic drink (if conscious). Get medical help immediately
  • Regularly check up on family and friends who are vulnerable, such as the elderly