Snow safety advice from Horsham District Council

The Causeway, Horsham, on Friday afternoon
The Causeway, Horsham, on Friday afternoon

Advice on clearing snow and ice from pavements yourself

Buy suitable equipment / clothing

A snow shovel or pusher to clear snow (or a hard edged shovel for compacted ice)

A bucket of salt, sand or grit for de-icing cleared areas

Snow grips or ice cleats for your shoes to give you good grip in icy conditions

Warm and waterproof clothing such as a thermal hat, gloves and thick coat.

Reflective, high visibility clothing if you’re clearing snow in the road, walking or cycling in the dark. Such clothes are now sold by many local shops or available to purchase online.

Tips on clearing snow and ice from pavements or public spaces

Don’t be put off clearing paths because you are afraid someone will get injured. Remember, people walking on snow and ice have responsibility to be careful themselves. See the latest advice from www.gov.uk - the new place to find government services and information.

Follow the advice below to make sure you clear the pathway safely and effectively:

1. Be careful

If you clear snow and ice yourself, be careful; don’t make the pathways more dangerous by causing them to refreeze.

2. Clear the snow or ice early in the day

It is easier to move fresh, loose snow rather than hard snow that has packed together from people walking on it so if possible, start removing the snow and ice in the morning. If you remove the top layer of snow in the morning, any sunshine during the day will help melt any ice beneath. You can then cover the path with salt before nightfall to stop it refreezing overnight. Always move snow to a porous surface such as a grass verge or garden. Do not move snow to a location where it will create another risk such as another part of the pavement, road or where people are likely to walk.

3. Use salt or sand - not water

If you use water to melt the snow, it may refreeze and turn to black ice. Black ice increases the risk of injuries as it is invisible and very slippery. You can prevent black ice by spreading some salt on the area you have cleared. You can use ordinary table or dishwasher salt - a tablespoon for each square metre you clear should work. Don’t use the salt found in salting bins - this will be needed to keep the roads clear.

Be careful not to spread salt on plants or grass as it may cause them damage.

If you don’t have enough salt, you can also use sand or ash. These will not stop the path icing over as well as salt, but will provide good grip under foot.

4. Take care where you move the snow

When you are shovelling snow, take care where you put it so it doesn’t block other people’s paths or drains. Make sure you make a path down the middle of the area to be cleared first, so you have a clear surface to walk on. Then shovel the snow from the centre of the path to the sides.

5. Offer to clear your neighbours’ paths

If your neighbour will have difficulty getting in and out of their home, offer to clear snow and ice around their property as well. Check that any elderly or disabled neighbours are alright in the cold weather. If you’re worried about them, contact your local council.

Should icy roads be expected, it would be wise to undertake precautionary treatment before the predicted event to allow time for salt to turn into brine.

Hippo Bags

West Sussex County Council aims to deliver one-ton bags of salt mix to agreed locations throughout the District during times of adverse weather for use on the public highway as a form of self-help.

Driving in snow and ice

Make sure your car is prepared and that you know how to handle the conditions.

Carry a winter car kit which includes: An ice scraper, anti freeze, jump leads, torch, reflective warning triangle, first aid kit, a shovel, a tow rope.

In case you get stuck make sure that you wear warm clothing for the journey, have a thermal blanket in the car, carry a fully charged mobile ‘phone and some snacks/water.

Always tell someone where you are going and what time you expect to arrive.