Driving in Icy Conditions

Driving On Ice

driving on ice

  * Allow at least ten times more distance to stop

  * Travel at low speeds

  * Check tyre treads and fit winter tyres if possible

  * Doesnt matter what your vehicle is, you can still slide off the road

  * Treat all controls, brakes, steering etc, gently


Driving In Icy Conditions

ice windscreen 2

 * It is illegal to drive with an ice covered windscreen - It must be clear before you drive

 * Do not leave your car running and unattended whilst defrosting your car

 * Put your sun visors down to help direct the heater air onto the screen

 * Buy a good double concentrate screen wash that doesn't freeze up

 * Keep your heater on full and just on the windscreen until clear


Gritted Roads

When the temperatures drop, even roads that have been gritted can still freeze over, and sometimes these frozen patches are invisible, so become known as "Black Ice" as to the eye, it just looks like the tarmac on the road and not a patch of ice.

ice on the road

Frost on the roads

 Look for signs of frost on grass verges and pavements, this will help you determine if a frost is happening. All but the most gentle braking will lock your wheels on ice and even cars fitted with ABS will take much longer to stop than normal. Remember if your front wheels lock, then you cant steer.... if you cannot steer you can't keep out of trouble!

For vehicles without ABS then repeatedly pressing on the brake to re-apply it, known as cadence braking, can help keep a small degree of steering ability.

But you are still better off getting into a lower gear earlier than normal, so you can allow your speed to fall and then use the brakes very gently and early to keep your speed well under control.

icy road conditions

 Braking Distances on Icy Roads

These are TEN times normal distances - If you have to brake going down a hill, use the lower gears well before the hill as well as whilst you are on it.

By selecting a lower gear, the engine compression will help hold the vehicle back and reduce the overall speed.


road accidents on ice

Antil-Lock brakes on Ice

Anti lock brakes do not allow you to overcome the laws of physics and gravity! In Icy conditions they cannot increase your tyres grip with the road surface, so much like walking on ice, it doesnt matter how much tread you have on your footwear, the moment you step on ice you slide!!

The same is true with ABS and 4x4 vehicles.


icy roads

Hills and Icy Roads

Going uphill in icy conditions also requires much concentration

* Be gentle with the accelerator

* Steer smoothly avoid the need for sudden movements

* Try and keep a high gear where possible to reduce spinning wheels

* Leave a big enough gap between you and the vehicle in front

* Remember, if you have to stop, it may be very hard to get going again.


Journey Safety Essentials

precautions driving ice

 * If a severe frost is forecast - is your journey necessary?

 * Carry a warm drink and emergency food

 * Warm clothing and boots

 * De-icer and scraper

 * Torch and first aid kit

 * Spade or Shovel

 * Jump leads

Back to Winter Driving

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