Driving tips for snowy and icy roads

  • If your car has a control setting for snow or ice, use it. This will reduce torque to the driven wheels, reducing the chance of wheel spin.
  • Be gentle with the clutch so that power is delivered to the driving wheels more smoothly, reducing the chance of skidding.
  • Be gentle with the throttle. In a front-wheel-drive car, too much acceleration on a slippery surface will cause understeer, resulting in the car not turning as much as it would with the usual amount of grip. In a rear-wheel-drive car, however, too much acceleration will make it oversteer, which is where the rear of the car exaggerates the steering input and slides out.
  • If grip is lost and you go into a skid under gentle acceleration, take your foot off the accelerator and steer in the direction of the skid. But if grip is lost under gentle braking, keep steering in the direction that you want to travel and the anti-lock braking system will pulse the braking effort to try and maintain that course.
  • Anti-lock braking systems (ABS) are designed to help you both brake and steer at the same time. In order to work effectively, the system needs to sense grip on the road surface, so in icy or slippery conditions you should reduce speed and brake gently, keeping your eyes focused on the point you want to reach.
  • If you have a crash mitigating system, try to keep snow and ice off your car’s radar sensors, as blocks to their ‘vision’ will stop them from working correctly.
  • Consider fitting cold weather tyres, which dramatically improve grip and stability when ambient temperatures are less than seven degrees Celsius. Please note, however, that the principles listed above remain the same whether winter tyres are fitted or not.

Driving in rain and on flooded roads

  • Rain reduces your visibility and increases stopping distances, so it’s advisable to double the distance between you and the car in front.
  • Use your headlights when visibility is reduced, in accordance with the Highway Code.
  • Regularly check your lights and the condition of your windscreen wipers and replace any defective bulbs and blades as necessary.
  • Should the steering begin to feel light or unresponsive due to rain or standing water, ease off the accelerator and slow down gradually.
  • If the roads are flooded, avoid areas of deep water, which is usually by the kerbs. If you do decide to cross through standing water, drive slowly but keep your engine revs high to avoid stalling. Be aware that bow waves from approaching vehicles can submerge your car to a much deeper level.
  • Do not attempt to cross deep water – a car can float in as little as two feet of standing water.
Driving in fog

  • Fog is one of the most dangerous weather conditions as an accident involving one car can quickly escalate to involve others if they are driving too close. Leave a distance of at least three seconds between you and the car in front.
  • Use your headlights and fog lights to increase your visibility to others.
  • At junctions, wind down your window and listen for traffic.

Driving in strong winds

  • If driving during high winds, watch out for sudden gusts that can occur at any time. particularly on open stretches of road, through gaps in roadside hedges, or when passing across bridges.
  • Hold on tightly to the steering wheel and be prepared to correct your course to stay in lane, or to avoid other vehicles and debris blown into your path.