Travelling during winter weather

3. During snow or ice

Avoid travel if possible. If you must drive, check the Highway Code for advice on driving in winter conditions. A summary of advice is:

  • take care around gritters, don't be tempted to overtake
  • slow down - it can take 10 times longer to stop in snowy or icy conditions so allow extra room
  • use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin
  • manoeuvre gently and avoid harsh braking and acceleration
  • if you start to skid, gently easy off the accelerator and avoid braking
  • if you need to brake harshly and your car is fitted with ABS/EDS apply firm pressure to the brake pedal. However, if your car is not fitted with ABS/EDS pump the brakes don't slam them on
  • if you get stuck, unless there is a safety risk, stay with your car. Also, tie something brightly coloured to your aerial
  • if stranded, ensure that your vehicle will not block access (abandoned vehicles can obstruct gritters)
  • use the engine to keep warm and ensure the exhaust does not become blocked
  • do not pass closed snow gates
  • use dipped head lights in poor conditions

If you go outside wear several layers of thin clothing and keep dry to prevent loss of body heat.

Watch out for the signs of hypothermia which can include:

  • uncontrollable shivering
  • slow/slurred speech
  • memory lapse, drowsiness
  • loss of feeling in and pale appearance of fingers, toes, nose and ear lobes.

Keep moving your arms and legs to help the blood circulate.

For more winter driving tips visit the ROSPA website.