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Driving on ice: top tips

  • Be prepared
  • What to do if you skid
  • Slow down!
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Beat the freeze and keep safe with our guide to driving on ice.

If you don't live on a main road, or your local council has run out of grit, you could find yourself driving on compacted ice. Avoiding non-essential journeys is a sensible precaution, but if you must take to the roads, follow our top tips to staying safe on the ice.

Be prepared
β€’ Check that your tyre pressures are correct and that they have at least 3mm tread. Don't be tempted to reduce your tyre pressures, it's dangerous and could be illegal.
β€’ De-ice all your windows thoroughly, not just a face-shaped hole in the windscreen;
β€’ Check local traffic reports, and stick to major routes where possible;
β€’ Early morning and late in the day are the most hazardous times to drive.

On the road
β€’ If you have problems pulling away, try selecting second gear;
β€’ Gently does it: drive smoothly, avoiding sudden turns and braking or hard acceleration;
β€’ Drive in as high a gear as is safe to avoid wheelspin;
β€’ Slow down it's the best way to avoid getting into trouble.

Stopping
β€’ Stopping distances can be 10 times longer than usual when driving on frozen roads, so slow down and keep an increased distance from the car in front;
β€’ Even treated roads can still have icy patches, so remain cautious on all surfaces remember that in very cold conditions road salt simply doesn't work;
β€’ Stuck? Put a sack under the front wheels for the tyres to grip onto, then keep moving until you reach safe ground.

Skidding
β€’ Ignore your instinct to slam on the brakes, this will make things worse;
β€’ Depress the clutch and ease your foot off the accelerator or brake;
β€’ Turn the steering wheel gently in the direction that you want to drive, and when the tyres regain grip on the road you'll be back in control;
β€’ Even in icy conditions, skids are almost always a result of driver error, so stay in control by slowing down.

For the latest national travel information visit: www.highways.gov.uk