How To Drive In The Ice
Snow is usually the first thing that comes to mind when you think of driving in Winter. However ice can be more than just a defrosting inconvenience, it can be frightening to drive through if you don’t know how. Fear not, we’re equipping you with some tips to approach an icy drive, how to control a skid, and what you need to keep in your boot to prep for the months of frost ahead.
How You Should Approach Driving During A Freeze
- Travel slowly
- Approach corners and junctions with extreme caution
- Don’t tailgate
- Turn off cruise control
- Stay alert - be aware of the possibility of black ice
Black Ice Explained
Black ice, though similar to regular ice, poses greater danger due to its challenging visibility, particularly while driving. It forms on the top layer of roads and pathways during a slight freeze or thaw, which is quickly followed by a re-freeze of water on these surfaces. This causes the layer of black ice to sit on top of the surface, and it is harder to detect and very, very slippy. This type of ice earns its name because it commonly blends with the road's appearance, making it difficult to detect on foot or by vehicle. It can be found on motorways, regular roads and footpaths. You’ll be more likely to find black ice on shaded roads and motorway bridges.
What To Do When You Drive On An Ice Patch:
- Slow down by taking your foot off the accelerator completely, and if you start to slide:
- Stay calm
- Don’t fight it - do as little as possible and allow the car to pass over the ice
- Don’t brake
- Try and keep the steering wheel straight
- Go with the wheels - if your back wheels start to slide left or right then very slightly turn the wheel the same way. Turning in the opposite direction means you risk skidding and spinning off the road
Check These Things Now
Ensure your safety while driving in frost by following these essential tips:
Carry A Practical Kit:
Every car boot should be equipped with some essential things to help when you need it most. We recommend that you keep the following in your car:
- Portable Jump Starter or Jump Leads
- Tyre Inflator
- 12v Windscreen Defroster
- Phone Charging Cables
- A Torch
- First-aid kit
- Warning triangle
- Tow rope
- Spare bulb kit
- High visibility vest
Check Your Tyres:
Remember, your tyres are the only thing that separates you from the road - keep them in top shope. Check their condition, including the spare, and ensure a tread depth above 3mm. Keep them inflated to the correct pressure and this will ensure you have the most enhanced grip possible.
Fully clear all ice and mist from your windows and mirrors before starting your journey. Use a chemical solution such as de-icer for rapid results, or a few kettles of room temperate water for slower thawing. Never, ever use hot water on the windscreen. Replace your wiper blades if they are chattering or streaky. Keep the windshield washer full with screenwash and keep a pair of sunglasses in the car for when you’ve to drive in the strong winter sun.
Use Your Lights:
Scan around your car to ensure all the lights are in working order and free from frost before every journey. Replace any broken bulbs and use dipped headlights while driving during the day to ensure other cars can see you at all times.
Check Your Antifreeze (and Screenwash):
Antifreeze (otherwise known as engine coolant) will stop your car from totally freezing up during the frost. Top it up during the Winter with Prestone Antifreeze - this is a universal mixture that can be used on almost all cars on the road today. Screenwash should also be topped up - use it neat in the Winter and diluted in the summer. When in doubt, add a measure of antifreeze to your screenwash too.
Preparation is key, but your alertness while driving is what will ultimately keep you safe during an icy drive. MicksGarage.com has everything you need and more to help you prep for driving in ice. Visit our Winter store today and equip yourself with the tools you need to help when you need it.