Are you a member? Log in

Ice is ten times and rain is four - we're talking stopping distances

Posted on 20/01/23 |

2023 has been a very wet year so far, and this year winter has turned that rain into ice and snow.  Whilst the overwhelming advice is always to consider if your journey is essential, especially in ice and snow, it seems a timely moment to remind everyone about the increased stopping distances in rainy and icy conditions...  

Stopping distances increase exponentially in wet or icy conditions, due to the lack of grip between tyres and the road.  According to Highway Code advice, it can take up to ten times as long to stop in icy conditions and four times on wet roads).  So it's really important that we build these increased stopping distances into our driving plans.   

Not sure how long four or ten seconds is?  Remember, "only a fool breaks the two second rule" - pick a fixed point, when the vehicle in front passes it say this slowly out loud - if you pass the point after it, your gap is more than two seconds; less and you need to increase your gap.  Just repeat the phrase twice for four seconds or five times for ten seconds. 

Approach every junction planning to stop well before the stop or give way line. In addition, every steering, acceleration or braking input should be as smooth and gentle as possible, so as not to trigger a skid. Remember ABS can be ineffective in icy conditions, changing down the gearbox sequentially can be an effective way to slow, but be careful about selecting a lower gear too soon as this may cause the wheels to lock.

That's stopping - what about starting up again?  Selecting 2nd gear when you pull away in icy conditions should mean you have less torque that will help prevent wheels spinning. For more information on driving in winter conditions, why not read the IAM blog which can be found here IAM Winter Driving Tips.

Stay safe!

Load more comments
Thank you for the comment! Your comment must be approved first

Write a comment