What To Do When Driving On Icy Roads 26th August 2012
Driving in icy conditions takes confidence and experience, but in the UK, you do not always get the chance to gain either with the extreme weather conditions we have throughout a year, so it is best to be prepared. Most people get the chance to drive in rain, but unless your lessons are booked through some of the winter months, you don’t always get the chance to drive on roads that have become icy. If you have not had experience, it may be worth you taking your Pass Plus Test after some Advanced Driving lessons, and get the opportunity to drive on ice first hand with the comfort of knowing an expert driving instructor is with you, should any problems arise.
Here at Drive Dynamics we understand the importance of teaching our pupils awareness for all weather conditions making us one of the best driving schools to learn with.
Before starting out on any journey, especially on unfamiliar roads, you should check your tyres for pressure and wear, to ensure the best grip on the road.
The problem with icy roads, is that your vehicle is not always able to get a grip, and the braking distance can be up to 10 times longer, than when driving in good conditions. This is why it is important to drive with your speed down, but your gear at 3rd or higher, which will help to prevent a wheel spin from happening.
You need to accelerate and brake gently, but avoid steering the car at the same time as braking, as this can cause ABS brakes to be ineffective against the wheels locking on icy roads. If you need to slow the car down, brake with a pumping action, which is known as cadence braking, and will help to stop the wheels locking. Whenever you use your brakes, your lights will flash which helps to warn other drivers behind you that there is a problem ahead.
Try to avoid changing gears too often, as each time you do, the traction to the road will lessen. When you approach a corner or bend in a road, you need to keep going at a steady speed in a high gear, steer the car smoothly and try to avoid braking or using the clutch pedal.
When going up an icy hill, try not to stop, as it is hard to start again, or change gear as traction will lessen, and your car will start to slide, just keep in 3rd gear and you should be fine. Once yo get up there, of course at some point you will have to come down, so drive down slowly in a lower gear, and touch the brakes lightly.
Don’t forget that you can’t always see ice on the road, and it can take you by surprise, so on colder days, be extra vigilant, and keep your speed down for safety, and keep your distance, where possible from other vehicles.