How To Drive In Snow And Ice

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This page will give you tips on how to drive in snowy and icy conditions.

Included below is:

  • How to prepare your car for wintery conditions.
  • How to drive in snow and ice.
  • Driving an automatic in snow and ice.


How to Prepare Your Car

- Aim to leave 10 minutes early to give you time to prepare the car.

- Clear all the snow and ice from the windows. Use an ice scraper, luc warm water or de-icer.

- Make sure you remove snow from the roof too as it could fall down whilst driving.

- Use hot water on your locks, or a cigarette lighter on your key. Don't breath on it because the condensation will freeze.

- Make sure you always have: de-icer or an ice scraper, a mobile phone, torch, warm coat and boots, warning triangle, blankets, first-aid kit, jump leads and a tow rope.

- Try and stay on main roads as they're more likely to be gritted.

- If the conditions really are horrendous then just accept that you may well have to be late!


How to Drive in Snow and Ice

- If your tyres are making virtually no noise this could be a sign you're driving on ice.

- If your vehicle skids, depress the clutch and turn the steering wheel into the direction of the skid. When the vehicle straightens steer along the road. Don't brake - it will just lock up your wheels and you'll skid further.

- Select second gear when pulling away, easing your foot off the clutch gently to avoid wheel-spin.

- Wear comfortable, dry shoes.

- Gentle manoeuvres are the key to safe driving.

- When driving downhill, choose third or fourth gear to prevent skidding.

- Slow down! Especially when turning.

- Always apply brakes gently.

- Try to maintain a constant speed, choosing the most suitable gear in advance to avoid having to change down while climbing a hill.

- Stopping distances are ten times longer in ice and snow.

- If you do get stuck, straighten the steering and clear the snow from the wheels. Put a sack or old rug in front of the driving wheels to give the tyres some grip. Once on the move again, try not to stop until you reach firmer ground.

Driving an Automatic in Snow and Ice

The AA has the following advice for drivers of automatic vehicles:

"If you have an automatic, then under normal driving conditions (motorways, etc) it's best to select 'Drive' and let the gearbox do the work throughout the full gear range.

In slippery, snowy conditions you can make driving much safer by selecting '2', which limits the gear changes and also makes you less reliant on the brakes.

Many modern autos have a 'Winter' mode which locks out first gear to reduce the risk of wheel spin. Check the handbook if you're not sure."



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