Snow time

If you are going to fly and the weather is snowy, there are some things that you can do. Firstly, do not panic. Really. It doesn’t help and only serves to put your blood pressure up and make you and everyone else miserable.

Secondly, always make sure that you have more than enough time to get to the airport. Leave home earlier than you would normally do. In fact, as well as having your car parking arranged by APH, why not really take the strain out of your arrangements and ask APH to arrange a hotel and parking package? That way you will spend a relaxing night sleeping at an airport hotel, instead of having to wake up in the middle of the night in order to have a stressful and potentially hazardous drive through blizzards and having to negotiate an obstacle course of abandoned vehicles as the time for your flight becomes inexorably nearer.

But there are some steps you can take to make sure your journey to the airport is as safe and as pleasant as it can be in snowy or icy weather:

  • Ensure that your vehicle’s anti-freeze is less than two years old
  • Make certain your battery is in good condition, with no terminal corrosion
  • Have your headlamps checked to make sure they are properly aligned
  • Check windscreen wipers for wear and, if necessary, replace them. Also, never ever use them on a frozen screen!
  • Make sure that the screen wash is not clogged and that the bottle is topped up for use and contains additives to prevent freezing. And never use either plain water or water with washing-up liquid added. It will either freeze in the bottle and pipes or will freeze on contact with the windscreen, blinding you.
  • Make sure that the heaters and aircon systems are working properly. Using your aircon should help ensure that your car doesn’t mist up.

Before you start your journey, clear ice, frost or snow from all the windows of your car car windows using a de-icer or scraper before setting off. But never use hot water. It can crack the screen or cause the locks to freeze. Also, make sure all your lights are cleared of snow before you set off.

Do not travel with tyre treads that are not at least 1.6 mm across the central three-quarters of the breadth of the tread and around the entire circumference, however in snowy conditions the more tread the better, and there should be no cuts or cracks. Consider using winter tyres or snow chains. Always carry a ‘hands free’ mobile phone with a fully-charged battery, phone card, and some cash. Don’t forget gloves, torches, blankets, warm jackets, a high visibility jacket and stout, sensible shoes in case your car does breakdown. Also, carry some food and drink. Boiled sweets, chocolate and Kendal Mint Cake are good options.

Check ahead with the airport to find out if there are any changes to departure time and liaise with APH to check on car parking, etc. Do remember to keep up-to-date on traffic problems. BBC Radio 2 and BBC local stations are particularly good at this and BBC Radio 2 offers this service throughout the night, too.

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