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Holiday on ice: Tips from IAM RoadSmart

It’s the start of the New Year and temperatures have dropped below zero in many places.  Even though we hope most drivers will be getting back into their usual routines, the icy roads won’t make the return to work so easy. This week’s tips give advice on how to deal with driving and riding on ice, from IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards Richard Gladman.

  • Only drive if it is really necessary. In very bad weather it is better to stay in or take public transport rather than risk an accident. Always check the weather and road conditions on your route before setting off


  • Make sure you know how the demister settings on your car work and how to adjust them properly


  • Never pour hot water on the screen as the sudden the temperature change may cause cracks. Prevention is better than cure so if possible cover the glass overnight with cardboard or an old sheet to prevent freezing, or invest in a windscreen cover. Adding boiling water or heating up a key can melt plastic components in modern car locks so be gentle when it comes to warming them up or use a squirt of de-icer


  • If you haven’t done so already, get an antifreeze check at your local garage or fast-fit centre. Keep your washer bottle topped up with an even stronger concentration of de-icer


  • It might sound like old news, but you need to triple or quadruple the distance from other cars in front of you in icy conditions. If a car has to stop suddenly or worse an accident occurs you will need that extra time to react and stop

Richard said: “As ever preparation and planning are the key to worry-free driving when the mercury plummets.  Plan your route carefully as major routes are likely to be treated with salt and less likely to be icy although this might still form in dips and on bridges. Leave more time for your journey. Respect the conditions and don’t expect your journey to take the same amount of time as normal.  Factor in delays and give yourself plenty of time to clear the ice properly from all the windows of your car.  A crystal clear view will give you the best chance of surviving the arctic blast.”

Notes to editors:

  1. Richard Gladman is IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards.
  2. IAM RoadSmart has a mission to make better drivers and riders in order to improve road safety, inspire confidence and make driving and riding enjoyable. It does this through a range of courses for all road users, from online assessments through to the advanced driving and riding tests. IAM RoadSmart is the trading name of all businesses operated by the UK’s largest road safety charity, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and was formed in April 2016 combining the IAM, IAM Drive & Survive, PDS and IAM Driver Retraining Academy. The organisation has 92,000 members and campaigns on road safety on their behalf. At any one time there are over 7,000 drivers and riders actively engaged with IAM RoadSmart’s courses, from members of the public to company drivers, while our Driver Retraining Academy has helped 2,500 drivers to shorten their bans through education and support programmes.

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