Winter is coming. And as its long, dark cloak covers the county it’s so tempting to snuggle up in a duvet with a hot drink isn’t it? Unfortunately we all have to venture out at some point.
The onset of winter brings particular hazards for pedestrians of all ages. Low light levels, rain, fog, snow and ice all conspire to make getting about more difficult and make us less visible to other road users.
For youngsters in particular the excitement of slip-sliding on ice or of frenzied snowball fights with friends can prove dangerous distractions which may lead to injury or death.
The Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership is running their ‘Ditch the Distractions’ campaign throughout this academic year.
Young people can play an online game which helps to reinforce the ‘Ditch the Distraction’ safety message.
And the same basic advice is sound whatever your age: keep focussed and stay safe. Here are our ten top tips for a safer winter wander:
More Top Tips for Staying Safe on Wintry Roads
Other tips are to:
- Wear something bright. Something really bright. Really, really bright, and preferably with reflective patches. And in rural areas with few lights, a torch might be useful too
- Ditch the Distraction. Stop messing about, texting, listening to music or playing games on your phone. You really need to keep all your senses tuned to the road especially when it’s both dark and foggy
- Take extra time to think about situations you’d usually take for granted. Remember it’s likely to be slippery for vehicles too, so they’ll need more room to stop safely
- Always walk on the footpath. If there isn’t one, take extra care and walk on the right side of the road facing oncoming traffic
- When crossing the road, try to make eye contact with drivers
- Watch your step. Ice and wet leaves can be a great leveller, and footpaths may not be treated with salt. So sadly, yes, it’s time to wear those ‘sensible’ shoes
- Stuffing your hands in your pockets may be warmer, but you won’t be able to stop yourself if you trip or slip
- Wrap up well. It’s not unusual for otherwise healthy people to suffer serious problems as they unknowingly become chilled to the core, including strokes and heart problems. Scarf, hat and gloves are a good move
- Try to avoid carrying awkward or heavy things which can upset your balance when it’s slippery underfoot
- Had too much Christmas cheer? Honestly, getting a taxi or a lift might be a better idea than walking. Even a small amount of alcohol can slow your reactions and affect your perception. Leave happy, arrive happy