Stopping distances are 10x longer in ice and snow. Gentle manoeuvres and caution are important when driving in these conditions.
1. Wear comfortable, dry shoes when driving – you don’t want your feet slipping on the pedals.
2. Pull away in second gear, easing your foot off the clutch gently to avoid wheel spins.
3. When driving uphill, leave a good gap between you and the car in front. Drive at a constant speed and choose the most suitable gear so you don’t have to change going downhill.
4. When driving downhill, try to reduce your speed before the hill, use a low gear and if possible, try to avoid using the brakes. Again, leave a good gap between you and the car in front.
5. If you do have to use the brakes, do not slam them on, as this can cause your car to skid. Apply them gently.
6. If you are driving an automatic in wet, icy and snowy conditions it is best to select 2 which limits gear changes and makes you less reliant on the brakes. Some automatics do have a winter mode which locks out 1st gear to reduce wheel spin (as mentioned in point 2). Check your vehicle’s handbook for information.
7. For information on what to do when you get stuck, read our other blog post – What to do if your car is stuck in ice or snow. Available on our website!