Icy roads can make for difficult conditions for even the most experienced of drivers. And with the weather taking a turn you don’t want to be caught out. So whether you’re a new driver or not, it’s worth taking the time to refresh yourself on a few tips that will help you to stay safe on the roads this winter.
We would always recommend checking the forecast before you set off, particularly on longer journeys, as if the weather looks like it will take a turn it might require you bringing extra kit with you, or abandoning travel altogether. And If necessary, consider winter tyres or even snow chains if you expect to be driving in particularly tough conditions.
So here are our 5 top tips to keep you safe on the roads this winter.
Plan ahead and take it slow
Allow plenty of extra time for your journey. If a route normally takes you ten minutes, allow for twenty minutes at least. Rushing on icy roads is a danger to you and all other drivers on the road so don’t let yourself be tempted. Consider alternative flatter routes as well if you can. And allow time as well to fully demist your windows and clear lights and mirrors of any ice.
Remember braking distances are significantly increased
When the roads are icy, your braking distance could be as much as ten times higher than on a dry road according to the highway code. So take things slow, leaving plenty of room between you and the car in front. And if you do find yourself picking up speed just run those calculations through in your head for your braking distance. It might scare you into slowing down!
Know how to correct a skid
If conditions are bad and you can’t avoid the drive, it’s important to know what to do if you do run into trouble. So if you find your car beginning to skid, remember to always steer into it. So if you’re skidding left, steer left. Don’t be tempted to break hard. And drive as smoothly as possible to try and prevent skidding at all.
Stay in a high gear
It might seem a little unnatural initially, but if you find you’re getting a lot of wheel spin, try moving into a higher gear. This should help your tyres keep better grip on the road and keep you in control.
Don’t stop on a hill
Avoid hilly routes altogether if you can. But if you do find yourself on a hill then avoid stopping halfway up it. You may struggle to get going again and your wheels could find it tricky to get a good grip meaning you’re more likely to lose control. If you can see traffic ahead then leave a gap and wait further back.
Above all else, don’t forget that the most important rule to remember when driving in bad conditions, is not to drive at all if you can avoid it.