Driving in the snow and ice is dangerous, to say the least, due to the hazardous conditions. If you follow these tips for driving in the snow and ice, you’ll be less likely to get into an accident.

driving on snow

1. Clear all snow and ice from the area

You’re breaching the law if your view of the road is covered by frost, snow, or fog.

Before leaving, make sure the windscreen, door mirrors, and side windows are all clear. Snow on the roof should also be brushed off, as it may slip down onto the windscreen when you’re on the road. 

A word of caution: it is unlawful to leave your car’s engine running with the aim of defrosting the windscreen, and drivers who do so risk being penalized.

2. In the snow, should you let the air out of your tires?

According to experts, lowering your tyre pressures will not improve your traction on snow. Your tyres are meant to operate at a specific pressure, and altering it could be hazardous. 

The most crucial thing in winter car maintenance is to ensure that your tread depth is enough. Winter tyres will also come in handy, and modern four-wheel drive offers a significant advantage in terms of traction and stability, allowing the car to stay oriented in the proper way.

3. Perform your due diligence

Before you try driving in the snow with poor visibility, ensure your car is in good functioning order. In addition to ensuring that your tread depth is enough, it is best that you double-check that your indicators and headlights are not only clear of snow but also functional. Remember to check the fog lights too. You never know when a patch of fog will appear in the winter, and snowfall can drastically impair visibility.

drive in snow

4. In the snow, how do you get started or drive uphill or downhill?

Whenever you’re driving on snow and ice in a manual car, try shifting into a higher gear. This decreases wheel rotations, lowering the risk of skidding. Slowly and carefully engage the clutch.

This is particularly useful when driving uphill, however contemporary traction control systems might be able to take care of it for you by preventing the wheels from spinning and therefore providing extra grip.

In a manual car, whenever you’re slowing down or going downhill, shift down through the gears and let the engine slow the vehicle down as far as possible. You can slow down an electric car using the winter or snow and ice button. It helps in managing wheel spin.

5. In the snow, how slowly should you drive?

This should go without saying, but driving too fast on snow and ice increases the chance of losing control. You might be driving too fast for the conditions if you suffer a skid.

6. Incorporate the skid into your steering

It’s critical not to lose your cool if you catch yourself sliding. You should steer into a skid, as this will help get the automobile straight and back on course.

drive in snow

7. Maintain a bigger distance between you and the car ahead of you

On snow and ice, stopping distances can be up to ten times longer, according to the Highway Code. Allow a 10-second gap between you and the vehicle ahead of you. This also applies to 4WD drivers, who might find it much easier to obtain traction as they exit a snowdrift but will experience the same traction challenges upon stopping.

8. No abrupt movements

In these circumstances, any forceful braking or steering is detrimental. Look forward and, when cornering, lower speed beforehand by gently easing off the pedal before applying the brakes.

Then, prior to turning, let go of the brakes and feather the accelerator and steer through the turn. Accelerating quickly out of a bend might cause the wheels to spin and produce a skid.

9. Take note of your range if you own an electric vehicle

The batteries in electric vehicles perform best at a specific temperature (between 15°C and 25°C) because of their composition. This means they can’t handle the single-digit temperatures of a British winter, and it’s believed that cold weather can cut an electric vehicle’s range by up to 20%.

Take a look at the available range of your automobile and also nearby charging stations. If you’re concerned about range anxiety, there are growing numbers of electric cars with ranges of more than 300 miles and those with ultra-rapid charging capabilities. There are also new charging stations are being constructed on a daily basis.

10. Don’t be hesitant to apply the brakes

If everything becomes silent all of a sudden, you’re probably driving on ice. Wherever there is cold, moist air moving above and below the surface, black ice forms most commonly on underpasses and bridges.

While it used to be recommended not to stand on the brakes while hitting ice because older cars would lock the wheels, many current vehicles now have advanced computer-controlled anti-lock brakes and stability systems. If you lose traction in a newer automobile, slam on the brakes hard and the electronics should take care of the rest.

What is illegal when driving in snow?
  • Not defrosting the car
  • Idling the engine to defrost the windscreen
  • Not clearing snow from the bonnet or roof
  • Not making use of headlights in dim conditions
  • Not checking if your route is clear

drive in snow

Emergency safety kit when driving in snow

You should have these things in your car in case of an emergency:

  • Blanket/sleeping bag
  • First aid kit
  • Torch (with batteries)
  • Rope
  • De-icer 
  • Mobile phone charger
  • Spare headlamp bulbs
  • Jump leads
  • High-visibility vest
  • Shovel
  • Tyre pump
  • Water
  • Warm drink
  • Emergency food
  • Wellington/snow boots
  • Hat and gloves