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Help wanted in the UK: Dealing with SNOW Answered

Hello there all,

As you might be aware, us here in the UK are having a fair amount of snow, which as you might also be aware, causes our country to slowly collapse...

Since those of you who live in Canada and northern states of the USA are quite a bit more used to the snow, I wondered if the collective genius of Instructables could give us some tips on dealing with snow...

Things which'd be interesting to know about:


I think you get the picture.




7 years ago

Footwear- Heavy boots not rubber ones (dad lost a few toes to that) with heavy socks, or if all you have are light ones two sets of socks

Driving - can't say much but if you start to slip near an intersection lay on the horn

Clothing- Layer and on your coat a deep hood living in northern Illinois on a farm we get lots of wind and dec to about march/april very cold with lots of snow( ie -20f and 30 mph wind, drifts up to 5 feet) we wear long sleeves, a sweatshirt with a hood a "carhartt" style winter coat and if the is wind ski bibs. not warm but no frost bite

Shoveling- Small Scoops

Footwear: Strong hiking boots do the job. For REALLY cold weather, have knitted socks inside. Also carrying some sort of light trainers or sandals to change into if you spend more than half an hour indoors is practical. (Bring several plastic bags for your boots then, as no one like them standing on their floor and dripping dirty water on it...

Driving: I have no idea.

Clothing: A very thick warm waterproof coat that allows you not to think about where to put 4 jumpers you took of because it is warm enough in your college. Or a not so thick coat and a lot of sweaters if it is cold indoors (I wore a sweater, hat and gloves at school on Monday...) Be prepared to be boiled in the underground/bus/etc, or wear a thin coat and run fast from the station ;)

Keep all your electronic things in your inner pockets, as most phone batteries think they are empty if they cool down to under -15.

Footwear: Waterproof, warm, grippy. If it's icy, Millets usually stocks "snow chains" for shoes. Wellies with thick socks are good.

Driving: go steady. Low gear, don't accelerate hard, don't brake hard, look well ahead. If you don't have power steering, keep your thumbs on the outside of the wheel (if you hit a hidden lump, the wheel could spin and break your thumbs). Make sure all your windows and your lights are clear. Take a fully-charged mobile, scraps of carpet for traction, a shovel and a reflective jacket.

Clothing: waterproof, windproof, layers. Lots of people put plenty on their torso and forget the legs - get thermal underwear, or even one or two pairs of tights (nobody can see!). Make sure the layers over-lap at the waist to prevent draughts, wear things to keep the draught out of your neck. Gloves, hat. Hunting and army surplus stores sell good weather-proof clothing at very reasonable prices.

Shovelling: use a shovel? Be neighbourly, don't throw snow onto the pavement or even into the street (you'll block drains or get pedestrians splashed). Put it in your garden, or at least against the wall side of the path.


I really don't understand why snow paralyses us every year. It's just snow. So many people either panic and drive too slowly or too quickly, they cause a lot of the problems rather than the weather.

In Florida one of the most southern states in the USA, occasionally gets a very light dusting (in my area, 4 inches is a dusting, down there, if you can still see the street because it is blowing around and not covering anything, it is a dusting), which paralyzes the state as they have no one that has much experience with driving in it.

As I suggested elsewhere here, for those that have no experience in it, find a good open area (parking log?) that one can play around a bit in and not hit ANYTHING, and practice a bit.  It can be a life or at least a bumper saver.

One of my first driving lessons, my father took me to an empty, snow-covered carpark, and told me to drive quickly around a lamp-post.

Without warning, he pulled on the hand-brake, and as we spun merrily across the snow, he turned to me and said; Now, get out of that.

That is kind of what I did "to myself". :-) I learned fairly quickly about
1: the brakes are locked, you have no steering
2: if sliding left, turn left,
3: if you really are into steering the car, take your foot OFF the brake :-)

I learned really quickly how to react and it has served me well over the years. 

For footwear, as Kiteman suggests, it should be warm (if you are wearing shoes inside them, then nothing fuzzy; and forget about traction on ice unless they are equipped with sharp steel grips that are removable so you can walk on regular floors etc with them, as traction on ice is otherwise futile).
Driving, if you are not accustomed to driving in it....don't.  If you can get safely to a parking lot that no one is using and if it is legal to do so, go there and practice stops, starts, turns, what happens if you start to swing around in a skid (how to counter steer), etc.

Clothing, warm, loose fitting (heavy layers are counter productive).

Shoveling, again, if you have a heart condition, or a back problem, find someone that is younger and willing to do it for a few buck.  You'll save a visit to hospital, or the doc's and time off of work/school.
Otherwise, go easy.  There is a LOT of strain with shoveling snow, especially if it is wet, packable snow.

The trains have been running very well this year. Only had one day I could not make it into work, I think they are the best of the public transport links.

Rule number 1. Do not eat yellow snow.

or brown lumpy snow (especially if it has peanuts....normal snow does not have peanuts)

if you want the East Tennessee method of handeling snow, it's pretty easy. immediately after the first mention of snow (no need to waste time for it to actually happen. conjecture and speculation is perfectly fine) go to the nearest store and buy all the bread and milk you can carry. don't worry about anything else, like things to eat with the bread, or trivial things like toilet paper (push comes to shove, you can always use the bread)

There is already a strong tradition in the uk for elderly people to do this on bank holidays (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bank_holiday).
The idea is that they should buy at least twelve loaves of bread enough milk to sink a small aircraft carrier & several tins of sardines (which will not be eaten & will eventually find their way into a passing cat) this is "Just in case", after all the shops will be shut for a whole extra day & they wouldn't want to run out now would they?

don't worry about anything else, like things to eat with the bread, or trivial things like toilet paper (push comes to shove, you can always use the bread)

And that folks is the quote of the day!!  Brought tears of joy to a nice snowy day in Ohio, thanks!

you're in ohio? BUY THE TP! you'll need the bread to patch your roof when the ice breaks through

Are you trying to drive somewhere?


Nope, I was just interested to see what people would offer :)

front-wheel drive cars often perform better reversing up gradients.


Footwear: For light duty, these look nice, but if you want something more aggressive, look for these, rubber coated insulated hiking boots are really nice.

Driving: Go slow, leave a lot of space between your car and the one ahead of you, don't try stopping quick, and automatic anti-lock brakes are a Godsend.

Clothing: Bundle up, layers layers layers, if you don't already have a neoprene face mask invest in one (they're really nice, though they still have the issue with fogging up your glasses, that can be easily fixed with a little ingenuity).

Shoveling: If you frequently get this much snow, invest in a snow blower (it will save your back and time).

I actually laughed out loud at that :P

That's very helpful (as always), Kiteman. I couldn't agree with you more about how stupid it is that our country grinds to a halt every time it snows... I've been off college for THREE DAMN DAYS now because of it >: (

I desperately need to get some decent shoes, part of me thinks I might as well just shell out on some really good Timberlands or something...

OK here's a little advice from this side of the pond.

Footwear - Something that has deep tread on the bottom. Helps in the snow, can't hurt on ice. Not much helps on ice but take small controlled steps.

Driving - Speed kills. People are idiot's so drive slow and controlled and be aware of everyone else on the road. Think/drive ahead and keep a escape rout in mind if you need to avoid someone.

Clothing- Layers. Some type of hat. Most of your body heat is lost from your head so keep it covered.

Shovelling - Good job for kids to do. If you don't have any hire one. If that don't work get a shovel and push it out of the way don't try to lift. You can't "push" a muscle but you can pull your back if you lift the heavy snow. Calcuim and salt work at differant temps so research what you may want to use or keep on hand for use.