Keeping your elderly loved ones safe when travelling this winter
Travelling in the winter creates challenges for everyone, but once a person’s mobility is reduced, the challenges become greater. This point can come at different ages depending upon the person but the considerations should be the same regardless of age.
To put this into context pedestrians aged 60 - 69 are twice as likely to be killed on the roads as younger adults, and pedestrians aged 70 - 79 are three times more likely to be killed. Also, almost 95% of all older pedestrian casualties happen in urban areas where houses and shops are located.
So in order to help keep our older residents independent, mobile and safe we have collated some advice on travelling whether it be by walking, driving, cycling or taking public transport.
Top tips for increasing your safety when walking
STOP and think
GET READY, plan ahead
GO with confidence by using the following advice:
- Be aware of your limitations such as eyesight, hearing and your ability to judge distance and remember your body is more susceptible to injury. It’s important to keep active but if necessary ask someone to accompany you on your journey
- Plan your journey before you set off to minimise the number of times you need to cross the road and make other people aware of the route you plan to take
- Wear bright clothing in low light and reflective clothing in the dark
- Carry your new reflective bag all year round to make you more visible to drivers
- Where possible, use zebra or pelican crossings to cross the road
- Concentrate while you’re crossing the road and wear your glasses if needed. Make eye contact with drivers when you cross and give drivers plenty of time to stop
- When walking in snow wear a flat shoe with a textured tread, rubber is better than leather. Take short deliberate steps, not long strides, and walk more slowly, keep your body weight through the middle of your feet to maximise balance and stability.
General advice for travelling in winter
- Allow more time for your journey than you usually would
- Drivers, make sure your car is ready for the weather before you set off, ensure your oil and washer fluid are topped up, your tyre tread and pressures are safe and your lights, windscreen and roof are completely clear of snow. Use your air-con for faster de-misting and to reduce condensation on cold windows
- Remember that wet weather doubles your stopping distance in a car, and in snow and ice it takes 10 times as long to stop
- If you have a mobile phone, always ensure it’s charged and carry it with you but don’t let it distract you while walking near traffic
- Check out the possibility of using public transport for your journey and check with your local bus and train companies to see if your service is running. If you use Facebook follow Connect Tees Valley for travel alerts at facebook.com/connectteesvalley
- If travelling by bus, once you ring the bell the driver is alerted by a light on their dashboard so that you can stay safely seated until the bus comes to a stop
- Invest in sunglasses to reduce glare on those winter days with low sun if you are driving, cycling or even just walking
- If you’re a cyclist who is keen to keep pedalling in the snow, then it may be better to choose a busier road which has been gritted than a quieter icy road
- Remember the light conditions are poorer in winter and rain, fog or spray will make it worse. Always make sure you’re visible by using lights on your bike and wearing bright clothing
For more safety tips for the winter follow us on facebook.
Click back to the Travel Safely This Winter Campaign page.