Fourteen do's and don'ts for driving in cold conditions

Drivers have been offered simple do’s and don’ts for driving in icy weather, as the cold snap continues across the country.

Wednesday, 23rd January 2019, 8:00 am
Fourteen do's and don'ts for driving in cold conditions

Motoring experts from have revealed their top tips and tricks for coping with frosty conditions on the roads, as the UK weather forecast worsens.

Tim Alcock of said: “Taking a trip on the roads in icy conditions is never ideal at the best of times, so motorists should make sure they’re properly prepared and don’t make it any more difficult than it already is.

“Of course, the most important advice we can offer is, if the journey isn’t totally necessary, leave the car on the drive and forget about it, at least until the weather improves.

“Sometimes though, drivers have no other option but to brave the worst winter has to offer, to get to where they need to be.

“So our specialists have revealed their top do’s and don’ts to help British motorists stay safe when driving during the cold snap.”

Here are the DO’s and DON’Ts for driving in icy conditions:


1. Do take an old cloth or piece of clothing to remove any mist from the inside of windows, that could form as the heating takes effect.

2. Do drive more slowly and in a higher gear when appropriate, to retain as much control of the car as possible.

3. Do allow greater stopping distances and stay alert for pedestrians and other potential obstructions.

4. Do be prepared for a breakdown – have recovery numbers to hand and a small tool kit if possible, as well as a warm blanket, snacks and a torch.

5. Do use a frost guard if you’re journey is pre-planned. When it gets dark the night before, cover the windscreen with a towel or two to potentially save time in the morning – soak them in salt water first, if possible.

6. Do check the inflation and tread of your tyres – the legal minimum is 1.6mm but experts say it should be at least 3mm to be as safe as possible.

7. Do ensure your lights, mirrors and number plates are clear as well as all of your windows – this is a legal requirement, as is removing any snow on the roof that might fall and obstruct your view as you drive.


1. Don’t make unnecessary journeys in icy conditions. If the trips can wait until it warms up, don’t bother.

2. Don’t brake or accelerate too quickly. Rushing on icy roads is a recipe for disaster, do don’t even think about trying to beat the lights, overtaking needlessly or turning sharply around corners.

3. Don’t try to de-ice your vehicle by pouring boiling water all over the windscreen and windows – unless, of course, you want to crack the glass. Use a specifically designed ice scraper or can of de-icer instead.

4. Don’t forget to keep your oil, screen-wash and fuel levels up – the last thing drivers need is an avoidable stop and to then be walking on the ice.

5. Don’t take an unfamiliar route. Getting lost is far from ideal at the height of summer, but during the coldest months roads signs could be obstructed, phone signals interrupted and there won’t be so many people on the streets to ask for help

6. Don’t use short-cuts and rural roads (unless they’re the only option). Sticking to as many main roads as possible should make car journeys in icy conditions safer, as these are more likely to have been treated with grit on used enough by other traffic to melt some of the ice.

7. Don’t brake and steer into as skid in order to regain control. Instead, come off the accelerator and let the speed of your vehicle naturally fall, while you ride it out and straighten up.