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Driving in icy or snowy conditions

One of the most dangerous driving conditions is ice, as it is usually extremely hard to see and anticipate. Sudden temperature drops can also turn surface water into deadly ice patches that could be waiting for you around the next bend. Don’t be fooled into thinking that this only happens at night. Plummeting daytime temperatures and snow or sleet showers also present a real risk.

You’ll need to allow up to 10 times the usual braking distance in icy conditions. Keep in control of your vehicle by allowing your anti-lock brake system (ABS) to do its job. Avoid sudden braking, acceleration or steering. In a vehicle without ABS, apply the brakes gently.

In potentially snowy conditions, plan your journey before you set off and keep in touch with weather reports (e.g. Met Office) while travelling. If heavy snow is forecast, try to re-schedule your journey or your breaks to avoid travelling in the worst of the weather.  Visit our traffic and travel information pages to a list of useful contacts.

Snow dramatically affects visibility, so make sure that you reduce your speed and use dipped headlights. Snow also affects braking distances so make sure that you allow for this by leaving a larger gap between you and the next vehicle.

Traction is a major problem in snow and ice, particularly if your vehicle is not fitted with traction control. To counteract this you should keep your wheels turning as slowly as possible particularly when pulling away.

Road markings and traffic signs will be extremely difficult to read. Make sure that you remain cautious at all times. Pay extra attention to the road and approach junctions slowly.

Deep snow and drifting may cause road closures. Do not attempt to use these roads, no matter what the circumstances, as you will be risking your life and the lives of others.

If snowy conditions are likely, keep extra layers of warm clothing and some food and drink in your cab in case you’re held up or get stuck.

Information provided by Business Link