How to drive safely in snow and ice

27 February 2018

How to drive on ice

There’s no doubt that driving during the winter months can present drivers with some of the most challenging conditions imaginable.  For many, it might even be their first time encountering ice on the road, especially if they’ve recently passed their driving test.

How can you deal with the drop in temperature and the icing up of roads?  Avoiding the pitfalls of losing control and causing serious damage to yourself and potentially others.


It’s always best to prepare for the sub-zero conditions that you’re about to run into.

Prepare yourself for driving in ice by making sure you have a mobile phone handy for emergencies

Being contactable at all times is imperative, so make sure that your phone is fully charged, or at the very least you have a charger in the car.  Should you get involved in an accident or your car gets stuck due to the conditions, you’ll be able to get in touch with someone who can help you and ensure that you won’t be left with a long walk.

It’s also a good idea to pack a few snacks, a drink and a warm blanket.  Again, just in case you find yourself in the horrible position of getting stuck in treacherous conditions.  These items, while seemingly innocuous, will help you to keep warm and be full of energy until you’re picked up.

If your journey is taking you to a friends or relatives, then let them know what time you expect to arrive.  Should the worst happen, at least they’ll know that something’s not right.  It’s never a nice thing to think of, but at least you’ll have prepared for the worst possible scenario.

How to drive on icy roads

If preparation is key before you put the key in the ignition, then anticipation is the buzzword when the engine is turning over. 

Be careful when driving in icy conditions

You should look ahead when driving in normal conditions, but the importance of this is increased tenfold when driving on ice.  Look for oncoming patches of ice, keep your speed down and anticipate any other moving object in front of you.  Use smooth movements when you brake, steer, accelerate or change gear, in order to dramatically reduce the chance of risk.

You can help the traction of your wheels by driving in a higher gear, this will allow you to be better prepared for driving actions that you’ll need to make and ultimately, stay in control of your vehicle.

How to brake when driving on ice

Normal braking distances will be dramatically increased when driving on ice.  So much so, that you will need to give yourself ten times the normal gap between yourself and the car in front.

How to brake safely on icy roads by keeping 10 feet distance

If your car has an anti-lock braking system (ABS), make sure to put your foot firmly down – even if you feel some resistance from the pedal itself – this will kick the ABS into action and cause the car to start slowing down. 

You won’t stop instantly in bad conditions, so ensure that you have both hands firmly on the steering wheel and gently steer away from oncoming obstacles if necessary.  Don’t make sudden movements, ensure all actions with the steering wheel are gentle.

At all times you must be extremely cautious with your speed.

The best way to drive on ice

Ultimately, the best way to drive on ice is by completely avoiding it.

Avoid driving in icy conditions. Stay at home and put your feet up.

Is your journey necessary?  Is it worth risking your life to drive to the shop to pick up another pint of milk?  In truth, the journey that you’re considering is probably not required and you can easily wait a few hours for the sun to melt some of the ice or until tomorrow when conditions might be more favourable.

Don’t risk driving on ice unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Tagged with:

  • Beast from the east
  • Beastfromtheeast
  • How to drive in snow
  • Ice
  • Road Safety
  • Snow
  • Winter tips
Author -
Content Writer Thomson Local

Away from his role as a Content Writer for Thomson Local, you’ll find Craig writing about either football or video games at a myriad of sites and publications. He’s had words featured in The Guardian, Eurogamer, Nutmeg and his own site Pause Resume. He’s also currently in the process of attaining a degree in Creative Writing with the Open University.

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