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  • Writer's pictureKatie Alvers

Travelling in Adverse Conditions; A locum guide

Wintry weather conditions

It's that time of year again...time to start thinking about being prepared for travelling in bad weather.

As a locum, you are relied upon to get to your booking on time and in one piece. However, when the winter starts to throw its worst at you, this isn’t always straight forward.

For the most part, UK weather warnings shouldn’t cause you any significant concern. We’re lucky that most potential travel disruptions can be largely prevented with some advanced preparation.

We’ve gathered some simple, helpful tips over the years to help you get to work safely and on time like always.

Top tips for preparing to travel in winter weather

Plan your journey WELL in advance:

  • Spend extra time making sure you’re familiar with the routes you will need to take. Avoid routes that use less travelled A-roads or country lanes, as these may not be gritted. Motorways or well-travelled roads are more likely to be.

  • Spend a couple of minutes more considering an alternative route in case you need to use it.

  • LEAVE EARLY AND FACTOR IN LOTS OF EXTRA CONTINGENCY TIME. That way, any extra traffic or unavoidable delays will not prevent you from arriving on time.

  • Use AA or other recognised sites to stay aware of any traffic warnings along your route.

  • Use the MetOffice site to keep an eye on weather warnings.

Tips for the journey itself:

  • To help your car battery last longer, turn off electrical loads like lights and wipers before starting the engine. And if it doesn’t start quickly, wait 30 seconds between attempts.

  • Frosted windscreen? Before you turn on the hot air to melt the ice, pull down your sun visors. This creates a block to redirect the hot air from the vents back to the windscreen without it being lost to the rest of your chilled car.

  • Take it slow – with stopping distances 10 times longer, gentle manoeuvres are the key to safe driving in ice and snow.

  • Put a few handy essentials in your boot like a blanket, shovel and torch. Plus some extra snacks.

    • The above tips are from AA’s seasonal driving advice (link below)

Consider where you park overnight:

  • Do you live on/near a hill/incline or on a road on which a lot of people park and leave little room for manoeuvring? It might be a good idea for you to consider parking up on a flat, main road that is likely to be gritted. This will allow you to leave more easily in the morning.

Find out where your nearest gritting bin is:

  • Check your local councils website for details on the locations of gritting bins in your area. Ensure you are aware of your closest bin and grit the area where you are parked and outside your home.

Make sure all your devices are charged and up to date:

  • Phones and navigation devices should be fully charged the night before. Also make sure apps and SatNavs have the latest updates.

Using public transport:

  • Apart from the parking advice, the rest of the guidance above also applies to anyone using public transport. Plan your journey in advance and consider all routes available to you. We would also suggest that you try and choose the earlier trains/buses etc in addition to taking your transport links earlier than usual. Aim to arrive at store well in advance than normal and that way, delays shouldn’t cause you too much issue.

Keep us in the loop

  • In extreme weather (which will likely cause disruption on the roads) we understand that lateness can sometimes be unavoidable. If this does occur, please ring us asap to let us know. We can inform the customer that you are on your way and will get there when you can.

Additional advice:

  • The AA have provided excellent advice on driving in wintry conditions: Coping with cold, snow and ice

  • The AA also have a great winter travel checklist: Winter car essentials checklist - Snow car kits

  • For peace of mind, make sure your breakdown cover is in place and suitable for what you need: Cheap breakdown cover

  • Social Media is a great source of information during the winter. Use Twitter to follow the National Highways account for your region to keep up to date with important motorway news. Also check Facebook for accounts your local council might run. A lot of councils operate a Facebook account dedicated to their roads management.

  • Finally, tune into your local radio station. They should provide traffic updates that will alert you to any active issues on your local roadways.

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