Don’t let Jack Frost strike! Read IAM RoadSmart’s tips for driving in cold and icy conditions

Blog post posted on 02/12/19 |

We usually dress for the weather and at this time of year it means wrapping up with a hat, gloves, scarf, a big winter coat and appropriate shoes.

So, it makes sense when out on the road to adapt your driving behaviour for the weather and road conditions.

With white frosty mornings also comes icy roads, and that’s why Richard Gladman, IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards has put together some advice on how to deal with driving and riding in icy conditions:

  • 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 incident. Always check the weather and road conditions on your route before setting off; if police advise not to travel, then do not risk it.
  • Make sure you know how the demister settings on your car work and how to adjust them properly. If you are riding, a clean scratch-free visor with a properly fitted insert will help you stay mist-free.
  • Ensure your lights and wipers are working well, 90% of our actions are determined by what we see. If they’re making a terrible squeaking noise, it’s time to replace them.
  • Never pour boiling water on the screen as the sudden temperature change may cause cracks. Prevention is better than a cure so if possible, cover the glass overnight with cardboard or an old sheet to prevent freezing, or invest in a windscreen cover.
  • If you haven’t done so already, get an anti-freeze 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 may need up to 10 times the distance to stop in icy conditions - increase your following distance to account for this. If a car has to stop suddenly or worse still, a crash 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 - but ice might still form in dips, on bridges and in shaded areas.

“Leave more time for your journey, respect the conditions and don’t rush. Factor in delays and give yourself plenty of time to clear the ice properly from all the windows of your car.”

For tips of what to keep in your car, and what you should be checking, click here.

IAM RoadSmart’s Advanced Driver and Rider Courses offer the skills and techniques needed to adapt your driving or riding to keep you safe on the road. Find out about the courses by clicking here.


Notes to editors:

Richard Gladman is IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards.

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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