Driving on snow and ice – top tips to help avoid accident and injury

Posted Dec 11, 2017.
With much of the UK currently experiencing cold, icy and snowy (and also it has to be said somewhat festive!) conditions, it’s a good time to remind ourselves how to stay safe on the roads and avoid becoming involved in a road traffic accident.

As well as the weather, shorter days in winter mean that darkness also contributes to the hazards of winter driving. Changes in overall UK climate has also seen a reduction in the amount of snow and icy weather, so when it does arrive, many of us have little recent experience of these potentially treacherous conditions. Once you have decided that your journey is necessary (of course staying at home is the safest option but not exactly practical for most of us), the main thing to remember is that you must drive differently - here are some tips as to how:

  1. Keep your speed down – keep much bigger gaps to the vehicle in front, as your stopping distance under braking will be significantly reduced
  2. Be smooth – avoid excessive steering inputs and heavy braking. Be particularly aware of braking on corners, as snow or ice could easily cause your vehicle to spin and skid out of control
  3. Speed limits that are correct in normal conditions may be way too high – drive according to conditions and make sure you can see enough road ahead of you to safely brake in.
  4. Ventilation is important – whilst a warm and cosy vehicle is nice, excessive heat can cause drowsiness and subsequent lack of concentration.
  5. Road surfaces may vary massively, from snow to ice, to slush to dry tarmac, even during a short journey. Changes in road surface affect your vehicles grip, stability and braking distance, so watch for changes and adapt accordingly.
  6. Stuck in snow? Don’t rev the engine to try and power your way out, this usually makes things worse. Instead, using forward and reverse gears, try and gently rock your vehicle free. Use the highest gear possible whilst doing this to reduce wheel spin.

Finally, stay alert at all times, use your common sense and stay safe!