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4 January, 2016

Tips on Driving in Ice and Snow

After a mild start to the winter, the temperature has plummeted sharply, bringing with it a risk of ice and even snow.

It is important to be prepared for these conditions as slippery road surfaces can catch even the most experienced driver off guard.

It is always best to avoid travelling in such conditions but in case you get caught out Ian McIntosh, CEO of RED Driving School, has some helpful hints on how to handle driving in ice.

White car driving on snowy road

Ian says:

Don’t Rush

Leave more time for your journey and make sure your car engine is warmed up before you start your journey.  Ensure you have de-iced the vehicle thoroughly and you can see clearly through all windows in your vehicle before you set off.

Slow down

No matter how experienced a driver you are, no-one has the skill to drive at speed on an icy road – it’s simply not possible. High speeds can make your vehicle difficult to control and even more difficult to stop. Only drive in ice if your journey is necessary too – it’s best to stay off the roads when the weather is treacherous.

Take it up a gear

If you have to drive on an icy surface (and particularly set off on ice), it may be beneficial to drive in a higher gear, as this can help your tyres to grip to the ice.

Give it space

Stopping distances can be up to 10 times more than usual in snow and ice, so leave a large gap between the vehicles in front and go slowly. If traffic in front of you starts to slow, apply your breaks gently, as slamming them on can cause you to lose control.

Stay calm in a skid

If your car skids, press down on the clutch and turn the steering wheel into the direction of the skid. When you start to straighten up, steer along the road. Resist the temptation to brake – it will cause your wheels to lock and you’ll skid further.