Snow and Ice – driving tips

Snow and Ice – driving tips
December 8, 2017 Hugh Coffey

With snow and ice warnings in place from Met Eireann and the North and West likely to see a covering, we have some simple tips you can follow to help keep yourself and other road users safe when driving in the snow and ice:

Before you go anywhere:

  • Make sure to de-frost all your windows, including side mirrors, so that your view isn’t restricted – use a scraper or de-icer rather than hot water as this can crack your windows
  • Remove all snow from your vehicle before setting off (as this may fall down and block your view while you are driving)
  • Make sure your mobile phone is fully charged & be sure to take some warm clothes (hat, gloves, scarf) with you in case your car breaks down
  • Be prepared – stock your boot up with a high visibility vest, a tow rope, a shovel and a spare wheel
  • If you’re driving an automatic car, learn how to use the Manual Override function (as this will allow you to manually select the right gear so you can avoid breaking and ending up in a skid)
  • Check your tyres (including your spare tyre) to ensure they have the right pressure and a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm

On the road:

  • When you’re pulling off, get your car into second gear as quickly as possible
  • Once you’re driving, stay in the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin
  • Drive gently and slowly
  • To break without ending up in a spin, move smoothly into a lower gear than usual and allow the car to slow down – if necessary, use the brake gently
  • Move into a lower gear when going downhill or going around bends
  • Leave plenty of distance between yourself and the car in front and give yourself plenty of time to slow down or stop – breaking distances are ten times longer in ice or snow
  • If you’re driving a rear-wheel vehicle be aware that it may slide more on corners

What to do if you start to skid…

  • A sign that you may be driving over black ice is a sudden reduction in tyre noise
  • If your car begins to skid don’t jam on your breaks, as this can cause your wheels to lock and your car to go into a spin
  • Gently remove the cause of the skid – either too much braking, too much steering, too much acceleration or a combination of these
  • If your car has ABS it won’t skid when you brake – if ABS is activated keep your foot on the brake and steer yourself out of the skid
  • If your car doesn’t have ABS and starts to skid as you brake, pump the brake pedal quickly and steer around whatever made you brake
  • If your car skids sideways, turn your steering wheel in the same direction as the skid and ease off the accelerator.


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