Winter weather advice and making a claim
As Storm Emma continues to hit the country, frequent, heavy snow showers are set to affect southern and central Scotland over the next 24 hours, continuing to cause significant disruption to transport.
The rest of the UK is also warned that there are snow warnings as snow showers continue to move in from the North Sea, predominantly affecting the Midlands, North and East England.
Storm Emma also brings severe gale to storm force winds that will affect North West and South West England and West Wales between Thursday 1st March and Friday 2nd March. With winds possibly exceeding 60mph in costal and exposed areas.
The heavy winds and persistent snow blizzards will result in transport disruption and possible property damage. It is important for you and your business to be prepared. Below is some advice on how to prepare and what you need to do in the unfortunate event of any damage to your property, business or vehicle.
- Snow and ice can result in slipping accidents, as property owners we all have a duty of care towards visitors and reasonable steps should be taken to clear a path to remove standing accumulations of snow and ice.
- Securely fasten all doors and windows.
- Check trees and any overhanging branches that could blow off and cause damage.
- Lock away loose objects in your outside spaces like garden furniture, bikes, children’s toys, bins.
- Secure weak fences and posts to reduce possible damage to your property and other peoples.
- Park vehicles in garages, if available, and clear from large buildings, trees, walls and fences.
- Consider how you would access vital information if a storm takes out power and phone lines, keep hard copies of policies to hand.
- Check your pipes are insulated. Frozen pipes are susceptible to fracturing: a small fracture can release gallons of water causing damage to property and contents.
- Will the property be vacant for some time during the bad weather? It is advisable to drain and shut off the water systems.
- Know where the stoptap is – to turn water of quickly should there be a problem.
- Ensure you have some provisions – freeze bread and milk and combine with cupboard staples.
Always check your contents and buildings insurance is up to date. It’s important you have the right kind of insurance in place.
Always keep up to date with the weather for the latest weather reports visit the Met Office (twitter @metoffice) and Environmental Agency (twitter @EnvAgency) BBC Weather (twitter @bbcweather)
Vehicles and driving
If you do need to travel during winter weather plan your journey in advance and only travel if necessary. Can your journey be rearranged? Consider if other methods of transport would be better.
- Have a winter kit in your vehicle – containing torch, shovel, blankets, extra warm clothing, jump leads, food and hot drinks, de-icer and ice scraper.
- Check your tyres.
- Make sure you have plenty of fuel.
- Allow extra time for your journey and reduce speed.
- Increase the distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front – in ice and snow stopping times are 10 times larger.
- In reduced visibility such as driving in rain or fog, use dipped headlights and rear fog lights. Use windscreen wipers to keep the windscreen clear, even in fog.
- Remember to turn fog lights off when no longer required as they can distract other road users in normal visibility.
- Remember snow is visible but ice, especially black ice, is often invisible.
- Avoid sudden braking or harsh acceleration or steering manoeuvres.
- Keep all windows and mirrors clean, clear of snow and ice and free of mist. Keep lights and indicators clean.
- If planning a long journey advise someone of your destination and approximate arrival time.
- If you have one, carry a mobile phone, ensure it is fully charged. Do not use whilst driving.
- If stranded in bad weather try to ensure you are not blocking access for emergency vehicles. Remain with the vehicle unless there is shelter nearby. Maintain your circulation by moving your body. If you can, use the engine to keep you warm; but do not use the engine if the exhaust cannot vent safely. If you are snowed over ensure that there is an airway maintained.
In the unfortunate event you are involved in a road traffic incident, these steps should be followed at the scene of an incident:
- You must stop and exchange details with any third parties involved. This is a legal requirement.
- Stay calm and act in a manner which does not expose anyone to danger.
- Inform the emergency services and call for assistance if required.
- If you are involved in an incident resulting in someone being injured, or if you are unable to exchange particulars with the third party, you must inform the police within 24 hours.
- If you are involved in an accident no statements admitting fault or liability should be made to third parties. The police should be given reasonable assistance.
Record the following details:
- Date time and location of accident.
- Vehicle registration numbers of third party vehicles(s)
- Third party drivers’ name address.
- Third party Insurance Company and policy number.
- Name and number of the police officer attending the accident.
- Police incident number. Officers’ number and station.
- Sketches or photographs of the accident scene showing position of vehicles, road markings etc.
- Names and addresses of any witnesses.
- Any other applicable information.