30 Dec 2020

5 Tips for Driving in Icy Conditions

As the weather turns colder, we have put together our five tips for staying safer on the roads in icy and snowy conditions:

1. Be prepared

When the weather is colder it is more important to monitor weather forecasts to find the best time of day for your journey and to consider whether your journey is really necessary while conditions are more treacherous.

Do not start your journey until your car is completely clear of snow, ice and condensation which can dangerously limit your scope of vision and could also result in a fine. (For the best ways to clear foggy windows, see our article Clearing the Fog Before Departure.)

Make sure your phone is fully charged before you set off in case of emergencies and pop a bottle of water and an extra blanket or warm clothing in the car just in case.

If you are driving to meet someone, let them know your expected arrival time and planned route.

2. Drive slowly and carefully

Drive in a higher gear and pull off in second gear to avoid skidding, easing gently off the clutch to prevent your wheels from skidding.

Keep your speed down throughout the journey.

Snow may be easy to see, but more dangerous black ice is not visible and tends to form when the ambient temperature of the air is close to zero, so keep an eye on your car’s thermometer.

3. Watch out for other drivers

While you may be aware of the precautions necessary to complete a safer journey, other drivers may not be or may experience an area of particularly icy road themselves making them less predictable.

Of course, if you see other drivers slipping, it’s a good sign that the road you are on is particularly icy and you should therefore also drive with more care.

4. Increase your stopping distance

It takes at least 10 times as far to stop on an icy road as it does on a dry road and tyre grip is hugely reduced, so increasing your distance from the car in front by ten times reduces your chance of hitting another vehicle.

5. If you skid on ice

Put your foot gently on the clutch and steer in the same direction as the rear of your car is moving, keep both hands on the steering wheel and do not use the brake as you could cause the wheels to lock.

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