Ice Driving Top Tips

Winter is on the way and, if it's anything like last year, expect some serious sideways conditions on the ice and snow-covered roads. But how best to drive in such conditions? Well, driver training specialist IAM Drive & Survive is offering weekly motoring tips to drivers from its head of training, Simon Elstow. This week, he is advising on driving on ice: Elstow said: "Now is the time to start thinking about how to deal with wintry weather, so that when it comes along you are ready for it."
Elstow offers six tips to drive confidently in icy conditions:
  1. Check if your vehicle has ABS or ESP. These systems require a different approach when driving in ice and snow. You can use your manual for further information.
  2. Ensure you have de-icer and a scraper.  Before setting off, make sure you clean any ice or condensation from all the windows so that your visibility is clear.  Air conditioning is very good at demisting a vehicle.
  3. When you set off on level ground or downhill consider using second gear, releasing the clutch and accelerating gently. Try to park and stop your vehicle where you don’t have to start uphill.
  4. As you drive, stay in higher gears to minimise the possibility of wheel spin.
  5. Stopping distances are increased by up to 10 times in icy conditions, so leave more distance than usual between your car and the car in front.
  6. If your car loses grip, take your foot off the accelerator, disengage the clutch and steer smoothly.
Elstow said: "We all need to respect the weather and make adjustments to deal with it. Being mentally prepared as well as having the right equipment is vital, so think about last year, what problems it caused you, and what you need to do to overcome them if they come this year."
Naturally, we agree... but also recommend finding a quiet, open space where you can't hit anything, or anyone, and having a play. Getting a feel for how your car reacts under ice will save you when the inevitable skid comes... and it's a lot of fun, especially in a RWd or 4WD car!


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