Driving advice Driving in snow or icy conditions
Driving in snow is, for most UK drivers, a relatively unfamiliar experience. But by following a few simple tips, you should be able to avoid getting stuck or losing control of your car. Check out our advice and watch the top tips video to stay mobile this winter.
Pay close attention to the road surface, as driving in snow and ice requires delicate use of your vehicle’s controls and much greater anticipation. This is particularly important if you're on summer tyres, but don't be fooled, this advice applies even if you've decided to splash out on a set of winter tyres.
Sign up to Which? for £1 to gain access to all our car reviews
Snow-covered roads can often conceal all manner of potholes and road debris that could damage your tyres.
Drive slowly and try to use the busier sections of road, as the weight of traffic will tend to clear the surface.
Accelerate and brake gently, using as high a gear as possible to avoid wheelspin.
If the car starts to slide, steer into the skid and keep your feet off the brake and throttle until the vehicle is back under control.
If you do get stuck, don’t panic by planting your foot on the accelerator. Straighten the steering and clear the snow from the wheels. Place sand bags (told you you’d need them) in front of the driving wheels to give the tyres some grip.
Use gentle acceleration in a higher gear to move off and try not to stop again until you reach firmer ground.
Snow is one thing, but the ice that can follow is more difficult to spot and has even more potential dangers.
Black ice – transparent ice that looks black because it is above asphalt – is prevalent on bridges, overpasses, less busy roads and shaded areas.
When following another car in icy conditions, it’s best to create a 7-8 second gap between you and the car in front. And yes, that even applies to 4x4 drivers – they may find it much easier to gain traction, but they’ll have exactly the same grip issues when it comes to stopping.