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Tips for driving in icy conditionsBack

With temperatures plummeting last weekend to freezing point, we’re all starting to feel the effects of the cold weather setting in. Wrapping up warmly to make a trip out is essential, and making sure you have an ice scraper and a can of de-icer on stand-by is also a good idea.

It is often at this time of year that car accidents can frequently occur as people are still getting used to the icy conditions on the roads, so it is well worth taking some tips on how to drive in icy weather to ensure that you are prepared.

Driver training specialist IAM Drive & Survive offers weekly motoring tips to drivers from its head of training, Simon Elstow, and this week he is advising on driving on frost and ice which the team at Trusted Dealers have modified below:

  1. Carrying a de-icer and scraper in your car is a must as well as making sure you clean any ice or condensation off your windows and mirrors to maximise visibility.
  2. Setting off in second gear is recommended when the roads are icy as this will help to prevent wheel spin. As you set off, release the clutch and accelerate gently, avoiding high revs.
  3. Whilst driving, it is important to remain in higher gears and always drive slowly to avoid loss of control which could lead to an accident.
  4. Increase your stopping distances by up to ten times in icy conditions, which means leaving plenty of distance between you and the car in front – do not simply rely on your brakes to stop because in icy conditions they might not work for you.
  5. Sticking to the main roads is a very sensible idea in icy conditions as they are more likely to be gritted. If you do find yourself skidding and your car has lost its grip on the road, take your foot off the accelerator and point your front wheels in the direction of where you want to go.
  6. Finding places to park away from the main roads will help reduce the risk of your car being involved in someone else’s accident whilst stationery, and remember that when ice has melted, it can still prevail in shaded areas such as tree lined roads for longer periods of time so always be extra cautious in these areas.

Elstow said: “When the roads are icy the best advice is to drive as if you’re walking on eggshells. Be prepared for the worst – icy conditions can affect accelerating, steering and braking. Being mentally prepared as well as having the right equipment is vital, so think about any problems you encountered last winter, and what you need to do to overcome them if they recur this year.”

If you are thinking about purchasing a new or used car, now is a good time to look at the best cars for snow and ice, or choosing to opt for a set of winter tyres is also a sensible idea as they will provide your car with much better grip, particularly when temperatures dip below seven degrees or more.

Posted by Leana Kell on 08/11/2012