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Page last updated at 13:37 GMT, Friday, 11 December 2009
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Winter driving: Things to remember
Gritter lorry

If you do have to venture out into the extreme weather conditions, here are a few things to remember to keep yourself and your passengers safe.

It's wise to carry a few extra items during winter so that if you are stranded, you can help yourself:

Mobile telephone (make sure this is well charged before venturing out). Also, only use it when it is safe to do so. Take an in-car charger if you do not have time to fully charge your phone before venturing out.

Other items to take: Ice scraper and de-icer, torch, first-aid kit, warning triangle, warm clothes, tow rope and some sacking or old material to aid grip if your wheels are spinning.

Driving in icy conditions

When sub-zero temperatures are forecast and ice or black ice is inevitable, motorists should: Slow down, steer gently and avoid harsh turns, braking or acceleration, keep a safe distance between themselves and other vehicles.

Winter driving advice
Driving in the snow
When pulling away, use 2nd gear if possible to avoid wheel spin.
When braking, get into a low gear earlier than normal, allowing the speed to fall, and use the brake pedal gently.
Slow down, steer gently and avoid harsh turns, braking or acceleration.

Look well ahead to anticipate problems and always pull away using 2nd gear if possible to avoid wheel spin. When braking, get into a low gear earlier than normal, allowing the speed to fall, and use the brake pedal gently. If in a skid, turn the steering into the skid, easing off the accelerator but not braking suddenly.

When cornering, allow the speed to reduce well before bends and corners by easing off the accelerator. Try to avoid using the accelerator in rounding a corner as it may cause wheel spin and result in a skid.

Black ice - which though not visible can be detected because the steering will feel light and/or the noise created by the tyres on the road will cease - reduce speed by easing off the accelerator rather than braking.

Power cuts

Here is some useful information about what to do if there is a power cut over the winter months. The information is supplied by Central Networks.

How you should prepare:

Have a battery powered radio tuned into BBC Lincolnshire - 94.9 FM, 104.7 FM in the Grantham area, and 1368 MW.

If you have an interruption to your supply in Lincolnshire, Central Networks need to know:

They are not always aware that your supply has been interrupted. In these circumstances they may need information from you. This will help them restore your supply more quickly.

In the event of a power cut
Switch off and unplug sensitive electronic appliances such as personal computers, videos, satellite receivers, answering machines etc.
Don't open freezers and fridges more than absolutely necessary.
Leave a light on so you know when the power has been restored.

In the event of a power cut - Contact Central Networks on 0800 056 8090 (24 hours a day, 365 days a year).

The General Inquiries Number: 0800 096 3080.

If you call, they will require some standard information such as your name, post code and house number. They will also ask if you know the time that your electricity supply went off and if your neighbours are having the same problem. As part of their fault diagnosis, they may ask you to check your trip switch and to look at the display on your meter.

If they are aware of an interruption to supply and have enough information to deal with the situation, they may put a voice message on the telephone giving information about the interruption. This message will be targeted to a specific geographic area and contain relevant information. In this situation, if you have seen anything that may have caused the loss of electricity supply, please let them know immediately as this information will speed the restoration of the electricity supply.

Animal care

Many animals could struggle with the freezing weather, but by thinking ahead and taking simple precautions it is possible to ensure they don't become winter casualties. Owners should give extra special attention to animals kept outside during freezing weather conditions.

Most dogs have their own coats to keep them warm when outside, but there are circumstances when dog clothing can help.
RSPCA chief veterinary adviser Tim Miles

Anyone seeing an animal in difficulty can contact the RSPCA on: 08705 555 999.

Dog owners should keep their pets well away from ponds and lakes that are iced over. Thin ice may break under a dog's weight.

Horses and ponies must always have access to shelter and will need fresh water, a rug and extra food.

Keep a close eye on guinea pigs and rabbits. Put extra bedding in their living area and be prepared to place them in a shed or garage for extra shelter.

Garden ponds

Pond owners should check them every day to ensure the water has not frozen. If it has, place a saucepan of hot water on the surface to gently melt the ice, or use one of the products available from garden centres to maintain an air hole through which pond dwellers can breathe. Never smash the ice or pour boiling water directly into the pond as this can shock and kill fish.

Make sure that fish in outdoor ponds are fed regularly. Common pond fish, such as Goldfish and Koi, are cold blooded animals, therefore during the winter months they become torpid; they become inactive, stop feeding and use body fat reserves to keep their basic metabolic functions going.

Garden birds

Garden birds can also suffer during the winter months when food and water sources dry up. By leaving out food like stale cake, moist breadcrumbs, seeds, sultanas, biscuits, cooked rice and bacon rind for them to eat they will be able to survive the cold snap.

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Tune to 94.9fm for the latest travel and weather from BBC Lincolnshire

They will also need plenty of fresh water for bathing and drinking.

Also clean tables and feeders regularly with mild disinfectant to reduce the chances of disease.

Water is essential - any shallow, stable container will do as a bird-bath. Just make sure it stays clean and is regularly filled with fresh water for the birds to drink and bathe in.

However you choose to feed wild birds, leave food well away from bushes and trees as cats love to pounce from these. Food left out late in the day may attract rats and mice.


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