Winter weather causes Brits to fall ill, miss work and cancel social plans

Millions of Brits have fallen ill, missed work and cancelled social plans – because they were not prepared for the winter weather, according to a study.

Failing to check the forecast has resulted in many of us venturing out in the wrong clothing, failing to prep the car or getting drenched after a downpour.

Three quarters of the 2,000 people polled admit they're not ready for the winter weather, with a fifth delaying it until December.

The study was commissioned by the Met Office to raise awareness of its 'WeatherReady initiative' – – a checklist to help Brits prepare for winter.

Madeleine Alessandri, deputy national security advisor for the Cabinet Office, said: "The Met Office's WeatherReady campaign is a helpful reminder to prepare for the possible effects of severe winter weather.

"While our public and emergency services carry out their usual winter preparatory work, all of us can take a few small steps that could make a big difference in adverse conditions.

"Please take a moment to consider how your home, health and travel may be affected by the winter weather and take action now to prepare".

The study also found that despite heavy rainfall and snow in recent years, just 34 per cent of those polled intend to go that extra mile to ensure they are ready for the extreme weather this winter could bring.

However, a quarter will check the weather as frequently as 10 times a week – to ensure they're up to speed with the elements.

Further to this, more than a fifth have spent time getting their home ready for the winter while 27 per cent have ensured they'll have all the clothes they need to cope with chilly and wet weather conditions.

Four in 10 have made sure their car is safe, a third have had a flu jab and 29 per cent have checked their pipes will be able to endure the extremities of the winter weather.

But just 11 per cent have checked to see if their homes are at risk of flooding.

And around a quarter of those polled, via OnePoll, will go that extra mile by ensuring other members of the community are ready – by checking on elderly or vulnerable neighbours in the event of a severe weather.

Will Lang, head of civil contingencies at the Met Office, said: "Changeable weather is a fact of life throughout the winter months as the recent heavy rainfall and flooding has shown us.

"As we approach winter, it is important to know where you can access expert advice and guidance to help you prepare for the potential impacts of severe weather.

"Taking a small amount of time to prepare now can make a big difference in keeping family, friends and neighbours, as well as property and businesses safe throughout the months ahead."



Pack a few essential items in your car's boot to make sure you're ready should you get stuck in unexpectedly cold weather.

Recommended items to include are an ice scraper and de-icer, torch, in car phone charger, warm clothes and blankets, high visibility clothing, jump leads and supplies.


The winter months see more breakdowns due to the cold. Before you set off, make sure you pay attention to oil and coolant, battery, fuel, wiper blades and screen wash, fan belt, lights, tyres, jack, wheel brace and spare wheel, warning lights, and spare keys.


Check your roof for any loose slates or tiles, clear your guttering and make sure all water pipes and tanks are insulated to help protect from freezing and help to insulate your hot water system. Checking the flood risk of your property is also important – go to


Heating your home to at least 18 degrees Celsius is important. Properly insulating your home not only keeps you warm and healthy but can also help keep your heating costs down.


Older neighbours and relatives are more at risk from the cold, so make sure you check in on them in severe weather, ensuring they have plenty of food and medicine. This way they don't have to go out in really bad weather.

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