1) Don’t drive if you don’t have to
Seems like an obvious one but the best way to stay safe on icy roads is to not drive at all! Try to only drive for essential reasons, this will put you and your car at the least risk!
2) Check the car before you leave
We know that driving is sometimes essential but make sure that before you start a drive in the bad weather that you thoroughly check your car/ van. Ensure the tyres are inflated to the proper pressure, DO NOT let air out to get a better grip, this does not work and actually decreases the grip! Ensure that you have enough screen wash to keep the windows clear and ice free for the best and safest visibility. Also ensure that your wipers are in a good condition so they can keep the window nice and clear. Other checks are a good idea such as oil levels and power steering level.
3) Deice your car thoroughly
Cold, wet hands are necessary evil of properly de-icing your windscreen! It is advisable to scrape the front windscreen, rear windscreen and remove any snow from the top of the vehicle. The reason for this is because if you have to break suddenly, the snow could slide down and cover your windscreen which could block your view and leave you driving blind.
4) Wear your seatbelt Another obvious one!
Wearing your seatbelt is the law but it will also protect you if you get into an accident.
5) Reduce your speed
Driving slower in icy conditions will make it easier for you to spot possible icy patches and the infamous black ice and any other hazards that may sneak up on you in bad weather. Again, it seems like common sense but not everyone does it!
6) Pull off in higher gear for better control
If it is slippery on the road, pulling off in a higher gear will give you more control to prevent wheel spinning. Although, you have to be careful not to stall the engine like we all have done when accidently trying to pull off in a high gear.
7) Pay attention to the weather
Everyone knows the English weather is unreliable at best! Stay aware of weather changes like snow flurries and heavy fog to stay safe.
8) Plan your journey around busier roads
Everyone mostly tries to avoid busy roads because everyone hates traffic. But, in icy conditions busy roads are more likely to get gritted and clear of ice, so they are safer to drive on.
9) Keep your distance
As tempting as it is to drive up the boot of the person in front of you, especially when they are driving slow, you must maintain a safe distance in icy weather. This is because the stopping distance is longer making bumps more frequent.
10) Drive as smoothly and gently as possible
Driving smoothly and gently means just not sharply accelerating or harsh breaking. Slowly easing up the acceleration or breaking will prevent skidding and allow you to keep more control of your vehicle.
11) Avoid using your breaks when skidding just ease off the accelerator
We know that skidding whilst driving is a truly terrifying experience! It is important to remain calm and fight against the instinct to slam the breaks on. Break sharply will cause your wheels to lock so you’ll to skid further. If you do begin to skid, press the clutch and turn the steering wheel to the direction you are skidding allowing you to straighten up.
12) Pack an emergency snow kit
If the worst should happen when driving in ice or snow and you have an accident making it impossible for you to drive you should have an emergency snow kit in the car. Paull recommends warm clothes for if you get stuck and it is unsafe to sit in your car, food and water to stop you from getting hungry dehydrated whilst waiting for recovery and a mobile phone.