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Ice driving tips from the IAM

It's set to become a lot colder in the coming weeks, so the IAM has issued these tips on coping with sub zero motoring.

IAM chief examiner Peter Rodger said: “Now is the time to start thinking about how to adapt your driving to the wintry weather, so that when conditions become dangerously slippery you are ready to react safely.”

Rodger offers six tips to drive confidently in icy conditions:

Before setting off, make sure you clean any ice or condensation from all the windows to optimise visibility, not just the windscreen, but your side and rear windows as well.

When you set off, if you are on ice do so in second gear, releasing the clutch and accelerating gently, avoiding high revs – this will prevent wheel spin. In an automatic be very gentle, and if it has a “winter mode” use it.

As you drive, stay in higher gears and don’t drive too fast to keep in control.

Stopping distances are increased by up to 10 times in icy conditions, so leave plenty of distance between your car and the car in front, and slow down much earlier than you would normally.

If your car loses grip, take your foot off the accelerator, and point the front wheels where you want to go.

Keep to the main roads as they’re more likely to be gritted. Also bear in mind that after the frost has gone, ice can remain in areas which are shaded by trees and buildings, and in dips especially.

Rodger 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 dramatically. 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.”


Colin Thompson    on 9 November 2012

would recommend winter tyres - the only point of contact between your vehicle and the road - having now used winter tyres I will do so without fail every winter - have yet to hear from anyone who has used them saying they aren't worth the cost

chris    on 12 November 2012

Please be aware that the road surfaces are now highly polished, so in the slightest frost you will loose your grip, if you drive too fast.

saluja    on 12 December 2012

Many auto boxes have option for second or third gear, in lieu of 'winter' setting. Try moving off in second in the auto box. Perhaps third, but I've never tried it.

saluja    on 12 December 2012

Unsure about your comment re 'if you lose grip then take foot off the gas and steer where you want to go. If you're in an understeer situation, ie you're going straight ahead when you want to go round a corner, steering where you want to go won't be very helpful. This advise is for rear wheel, oversteer skid situations.

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