Driving in snow and ice

Lesson Type
Last updated: 12 Nov 2019

Driving in snow can be daunting for even the most experienced drivers, and you're unlikely to have encountered it in your driving lessons. So, if you’re taking to the roads for the first time this winter, you’ll probably want a few tips for being behind the wheel at this time of year.

You’ll need to be extra cautious when driving in snow and ice, as conditions can be treacherous if you don’t know how to react. Here we look at a few things you should know before you get behind the wheel this winter.

Preparing your car

If it’s really cold outside, you’ll probably need to de-ice your car. Follow our simple de-icing guide to find out how to do this. You’ll also need to de-mist your windscreen and ensure there’s no snow on top of your roof. Make sure you can see out of all windows and mirrors before moving off.

Slow and steady

It might sound obvious, but you’ll need to drive much slower when driving in snow and ice. Your tyres will have much less grip on the road than they normally would, so you need to make sure you stay in control of your vehicle. Keep a firm grip on the steering wheel, making sure you keep your full attention on the road.

You should also avoid any harsh braking and acceleration, as this could cause your tyres to lose traction and your car to go into a skid.

High or low gear

When driving in snow, you should drive in as high a gear as possible, keeping your revs low. This will prevent your wheels from spinning over the icy surface. If possible, pull away in 2nd gear without applying too much pressure on the gas, then move up the gears as smoothly as possible.

What if my car starts to skid?

If your car starts to skid, your knee-jerk reaction might be to turn the steering wheel or to slam the brakes on, but this will only make the situation worse. Instead, you should take your feet off the pedals and steer into the skid.

For more information on how to avoid skidding read our article,‘how to stop your car skidding’.

Stay safe on the roads this winter!