Driving Safely On Ice Or Snow

For many years I lived in Scandinavia (Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland) and so I quickly had to learn how to negotiate snow and ice whilst operating a vehicle.

Here are some of the things I learnt that kept me safe for over a decade and a half.

1. You need to keep a keen eye on the road and try to spot ice or slush patches before you hit them, so keep your speed down to give yourself a chance.

2. Never brake when passing over ice or slush.

3. Do not accelerate when passing over ice or slush.

4. As soon as you spot the ice/slush, slow down NOW whilst you’re still on tarmac. Now you have grip to brake but as soon as you hit ice/slush you won’t.

5. As soon as you hit the ice/slush lift off the brake and allow the vehicle to coast through, until you’re back on terra firma.  Braking on ice will cause you to lose grip completely and when that happens you have zero control. Accelerating on ice will do the same thing. Just let the vehicle coast at its current speed until you get back onto the tarmac.

6. If the ice is on a corner, slow down to a walking pace before negotiating the corner (if possible) and turn the steering wheel carefully and gradually with no harsh movements. You want to caress the car around that corner. Harsh movements lose grip; gradual movements maintain whatever grip you have.

7. How Do You Know if You Are Driving on Black Ice? Because you can’t see black ice, you’ll first notice it when you feel your car start to slide or lose traction. If small shifts in your steering seem to generate an exaggerated response from your vehicle, it’s a sign that you may be driving on black ice.

8. What techniques should you use while driving on black ice? First, slow down in conditions when black ice can form. When you reduce your speed, you lessen your chance of skidding.

9. When conditions are right for black ice, it’s best not to use cruise control.

10. If you have a vehicle with an automatic gearbox, put it into neutral as you go through ice or slush and re-engage on the other side.

11.  How Can You Recover from Skidding on Black Ice? For front-wheel and all-wheel drive cars, turn your steering wheel into the skid. Change the direction of your steering if the skid takes you in another direction. Maintain your speed and don’t suddenly apply the brakes or gas pedal. Push in your clutch if you have a manual transmission. Steer your car in the direction you want to go. This may mean counter-steering if the back of your vehicle swerves away from this direction. Resist slamming on your brakes if you start to skid.

12. Should I Pump My Brakes When Driving on Ice? Be gentle with your steering inputs. An overreaction could send your vehicle’s back end in the opposite direction. After straightening your vehicle, apply gentle pressure to the accelerator. Yes, you can “pump” your brakes if you’re already at a slow speed but do so carefully and sensitively. ABS will not help you greatly on ice so don’t stamp on the brakes.

13. What saves lives on ice is seeing it before you hit it. Keep your eyes peeled and concentrate whilst driving.

14. Finally, keep some tools and extra clothing in the car. A folding spade and extra clothing can be a life-saver if you come off the road and need to wait a while for emergency services.

Stay safe all!

Friendly Cabs CEO

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to content