How to drive in ice and snow

The ‘Beast from the East’ may have passed, but the winter is not over yet as cold weather persists in most places. Besides, it is always useful to have a few tips in mind on how to drive in challenging conditions and if it is not snow, then it may be ice or flooding. In this article we take a look at driving in ice and snow to make sure that you and your loved ones are safe on the road at all times.

Before you set out

Ideally, you should not drive in inclement weather if it is not absolutely necessary. However, there are times when you cannot avoid getting into your vehicle and tackling the trip. If you must travel, then here are a few things to check before setting off:

  • Plan your journey, using major roads wherever possible as they are more likely to be treated and therefore safer to drive on. Avoid minor roads if you can and have an alternative route in mind as well in case you have to take a detour.
  • Allow plenty of extra time. Traffic will be slower and road conditions more challenging, so give yourself longer to get to your destination than you would otherwise need. This will also help to minimise your stress levels and taking risks to get there on time.
  • Clean any ice and snow off your car before you set off, making sure you have good visibility of the road from all sides.
  • Check you tyres, windscreen wipers and screenwash levels.

While on the road

Our top tips for driving in icy or snowy conditions include:

  • Accelerate gently and move into higher gears as quickly as possible. If you can accelerate in second gear, this is preferable as you reduce the chances of losing grip as you shift from first to second gears. Slower acceleration will also help you reduce speed if you need to by downshifting and it will also keep the engine revs down.
  • Find a steady speed, not too slow and not too fast, and maintain it for as long as you can.
  • Keep a safe distance from the car in front. Typically, this is around ten times as far back as you would normally be in good weather conditions.
  • When driving downhill keep the vehicle in a low gear and avoid breaking too much. Leave plenty of space between you and the car in front to allow for safe slowing and stopping distances.
  • Avoid sudden movements, whether it is to brake or turn a bend or corner. Keep them smooth and remember to slow down before you start to steer into a bend. If you do skid, take your foot off the accelerator and steer into the skid. Don’t panic and brake suddenly, that will make things worse.
  • If you encounter a road that has not been gritted avoid the temptation of driving in the wheel tracks of the car in front. Ice and snow will be compacted, making it more, rather than less, dangerous.


For more tips on driving in tricky weather conditions, or for a full check of your car before a longer trip, talk to our experienced mechanics at Double Dee Autos. You can call us on 020 8460 3040 for a chat or to book an appointment to come in and see us.